The Freelance Revolution: Working In A Post-COVID World
Apr 22, 2020 Susan Marshall
It Has To Be the Right Partnership
At Torchlite, we’re obviously fans of independent contractors and freelancers. Over the years, we’ve grown to love these problem solving, creative entrepreneurs and do everything we can to support their careers. In fact, we are a catalyst to matching professional freelancers with the brands that need their skills on demand. But you can’t just add anyone to your roster — it has to be the right partnership.
So naturally, we are concerned about the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic and consequences for freelancers and independent professionals. According to the New York Times at least 316 million people in the US, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are being urged to stay home. Many of those people will be forced to reconsider how and where they work, some jumping into the independent contract business full time. We at Torchlite are here to help with that transition.
Implications For The Freelance Revolution
PwC has helpfully published two interesting reports. The first is PwC’s 2020 CEO survey, published at the end of March, and involving chief executives from a variety of industries and geographies. The second is a survey of corporate CFO executives, also recently published.
This month, Forbes provided a summary of the CEO study main findings, followed by some interesting implications for the freelance revolution. Worth a read, but here are the highlights. It’s good news for our freelancers:
Finance talent transformation is a key emphasis.
Half (50%) of CFOs describe their team as lacking the right skills mix to meet future business needs. Moreover, 60% believe that stable, long-term employment, is less likely in the future. Taken together, it’s fairly evident from the PwC and BCG reports that freelance and independent management consulting opportunity is likely to increase and broaden as a result of COVID 19. What might we expect:
More companies are likely to access freelancers both for cost efficiency and to supplement critical skill sets.
Without doubt, freelancing enables a more cost and time efficient approach to supplementing or adding critical technical skills. But, beyond cost efficiency, freelancing makes it possible to attract world-class talent that would be unavailable to most organizations on a full-time basis. Perhaps the expert wouldn’t be interested in full-time work, or his or her full-time cost would blow up the staffing budget. But, she or he would be available on a project basis, or as a consulting advisor.
4IR offers interesting and important freelance work and lots of it.
Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum described the fourth industrial revolution this way: “The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.” These are seen as critical investment areas, and no organization has the internal staff to independently realize the potential of 4IR. Remember, companies like Alphabet, Apple and Facebook – able to access tremendous resources – continues to depend on freelancers to fill out their teams. Freelancing, on a global scale, will grow significantly to meet the 4IR challenge.
Freelancers are a critical resource to more industries.
As BCG points out, freelancing is undeterred by industrial boundaries. Whether in agriculture, finance or education, most organizations lack the full set of skills and experiences they will need to take full advantage of future global and regional growth opportunities.
More areas of freelancing will grow in importance.
The data sends a very clear message: freelancing will grow in a widening range of professional areas. We’ve already seen the rise of independent management consulting platforms, and the growth of new platforms in an ever growing set of professions. More companies are partnering with freelance platforms to build a more flexible, blended workforce.
A Changed Economy
As the danger of COVID 19 passes, and executives rework their businesses, reinventing in the context of broken supply chains, skill gaps, and digital transformational requirements, freelancing has an exciting and attractive future.
At Torchlite we have the tools and expertise to help freelancers and independent contractors thrive in our changed economy. For many companies, the work doesn’t stop even if the workers can’t be onsite. The expert freelancers who have the talents and skills that are in high demand can define where and how they work, compensation, and many other specifications around how they do their work. Join Torchlite’s network of freelancers today.