The number of freelancers is growing, and will continue to rise in the future. More workers are shifting from the traditional 9am-5pm steady job towards short-term, project-based work. With each passing year, the gig economy multiplies in size. Gone are the days of staying loyal to one company for 30 years in exchange for promotions, benefits, and job security. Thanks to the recession, in place of the long-term 9-5 there have risen up workers who are more independent, resourceful, and entrepreneurial than ever. However, this shift doesn’t come without economic impacts.
Here are a few that will completely change the economy.
Government-Based Programs Will Change
Around the first world, governments are set up to reward full-time employees of companies with benefits such as unemployment insurance, social security, healthcare, and retirement funds. However, as more and more workers leave these kinds of jobs for the gig economy, government and insurance programs will have to shift as well to accommodate citizens that won’t be able to get these benefits via employers. Even American presidential candidates have noticed that freelancers are a group to keep in mind when shaping future worker benefit policies.
New Tech Platforms Designed for Freelance Workers
Doing a traditional job hunt by scouring company websites and job boards is something most freelancers do when they’re looking to see if large companies work with contractors. But as more and more people become freelancers, job listings will shift from company job boards and from being “position-based” to being project-based. More crowdsourcing platforms like Mila, TaskRabbit, and eLance will spring up to help mitigate freelancer’s risk of finding work and keeping clients. These crowdsourced platforms will offer freelancers the ability to not only find projects to work on, but will likely also have ratings profile information that users can build up over time with each job completed in order to create trust.
Talent Agents for Freelancers
In the new economy, talent agents won’t be reserved for sports and entertainment talent. Since finding work and clients is one of the biggest challenges of being a freelancer, talented workers in the future will have agents who champion them and their skills to organizations and potential clients, helping them land new gigs. The real question is will freelancers be willing to let go of a percentage of their income each month for an agent’s service?
Higher Wages as Small Businesses Grow
As aging workers retire from the workforce, there will be a high demand for specialized work with fewer workers in the workforce to meet that demand. Freelancers will be able to set their own rates for their specialties. And smaller business will crop up that offer specific services or perhaps collectives of freelancers with varied skills who can work together to complete large projects for a client.
Freelancers are Captains of Their Own Success
Freelancers are essentially their own business owners. They don’t have to impress just one boss or company who can make or break their careers. They have to impress each client, on each project. Their rates, their success, and how much work they tackle—and subsequently, how much money they earn– is up to each freelancer. So it will take their own tenacity, curiosity, and ability to learn and market new skills when needed to be successful.