There’s no turning back now.  All levels of the work force are participating in and contributing to the massive growth in the gig economy.  However, you might not expect where this growth is the most explosive, which is among professional white-collar workers. According to a March 14, 2016, Wall Street Journal article, Contract Workforce Outpaces Growth in Silicon-Valley Style “Gig” Jobs, aiming to shine a light on the gig economy, the largest gains in the gig-economy are happening in the shadows of the professional market and not in the Silicon Valley-fueled world of working-class gigs with companies such as Uber and Taskrabbit.  Drilling into actual numbers, one can see that the most explosive growth in the freelance and moonlighting economies is coming from women who have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

These numbers reflect a simultaneous corporate opportunity and corporate indictment.  Women and men alike want flexibility and professional and financial opportunity, something that their day jobs, if they even have them, just aren’t providing.  Put another way, job security and opportunity for long-term pecuniary gain are no longer part of the guarantee of a corporate job.  As a result, workers are left to find another way.  Freelancing allows an individual to fill-in the gaps financially and to create new opportunities in the form of a new business or a new career path.

What can Corporate America learn from this trend? This new labor market opens up the potential for Corporate America to engage highly talented professionals on a surge-capacity basis.  The opportunity to tap external talent can embolden strategic thinking about what initiatives can be accomplished under the direction of internal executives with the horsepower of external talent.  It will also require the implementation of sources, platforms, and processes to effectively manage an external workforce.

Where is the opportunity to inspire a more dedicated workforce?  Knowing that many of its professionals are hiring out their talent to others, Corporate America should implement more substantive opportunities in the areas of skills acquisition and diversification.  Companies could set up workplace initiatives where ambitious employees can participate in challenges and “gigs” not necessarily directly correlated to their official job responsibilities – where upon successful completion workers earn additional compensation. These initiatives would provide an opportunity to allow employees to engage in new challenges and receive additional compensation drawing on their existing knowledge of the company. If nothing else, the new labor market presents both an opportunity and a challenge for those in the C-Suite to engage their employees and skilled freelancers alike in new ways.

Are you a professional who moonlights as a freelancer or freelances full-time?  Are you a corporation looking to engage contract labor in a new way?  We’d love to hear from you!  Skilled Shift engages reliable and skilled software engineers, web and app developers and designers to create incredible websites, apps, software and marketing materials.

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