LinkedIn’s Working Together is a weekly newsletter and video series that covers the evolving landscape of business in the US.
On December 4, Business Talent Group’s co-founder and co-CEO, Jody Greenstone Miller, and General Assembly’s co-founder and CEO, Jake Schwartz, joined the program to discuss gig economy trends—and why demand for elite gig workers has been growing.
Watch the full interview, or read on for a summary of some of our favorite moments:
What’s driving the desire to work independently?
The world of work is changing as more people leave traditional, full-time roles to work independently. Today’s workers want more autonomy, and they want more control over the way they manage their work and their lives.
One of the biggest incentives to working independently is flexibility—as Miller said, “People want to choose what they work on, who they work with, and when they work.”
As baby boomers retire and millennials seek the flexibility and freedom of independent work in ever greater numbers, the size of this workforce is poised to get even larger.
Who benefits from the independent marketplace?
Highly skilled knowledge workers do especially well in the independent marketplace and can often earn more working independently than they would in a traditional role. As Miller pointed out, “high-earning independent workers—those making over $100,000 per year—are one of the least-acknowledged segments in the marketplace, but they’re the ones really driving the market.”
Freelance work helps independent professionals stay current due to the faster pace and increased responsibilities it offers workers compared to traditional roles. Elaborated General Assembly’s Schwartz: “Freelancing accelerates the learning curve. If you’re able to go from project to project and scope the project, do it, and deliver success, you get to move a lot faster through the journey to the next level in your career.”
Companies who are able adapt to gig economy trends and the changing world of work can benefit both from using independent workers to fill critical gaps and by identifying ways to retain traditional talent. Many companies have seen the shift to shorter employee tenures and decided it’s not worth investing in their workforce. Of course, many employees choose to leave when employers don’t invest in their growth.
According to Schwartz, General Assembly is helping to break that cycle by building reskilling programs within companies so that they can get a higher ROI on recruiting dollars by upskilling current employees and finding paths for growth within a current role.
How can independent professionals and companies succeed in the future of work?
To remain competitive in the future of work, both independent professionals and permanent employees must regularly reassess their skills and, when necessary, acquire new ones. Upskilling is necessary for workers as the market evolves and, as Miller said, “Project-based work is the best way to stay cutting edge.”
For organizations, understanding how to leverage independent talent and knowing how to attract and retain them are key to successfully adapting to the new talent model. According to Miller, “One of the big challenges is helping organizations learn how to work with people who aren’t long-term colleagues and understand that freelancers are not second-class citizens.”
Watch the full interview to learn more!