How​ ​the​ ​Freelancer​ ​Is​ ​Taking​ ​Over​ ​the​ ​Workforce

In Flexibility We Trust

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I ​remember ​the ​first ​corporate ​“match” ​we ​ever ​made.

When ​we ​first ​started ​our ​talent ​management ​company, ​Rent-a-Nerd ​(as ​we ​were ​then
called ​in ​2013) ​found ​our ​first ​contract ​in ​our ​local ​burrito ​spot, ​Veggie ​Galaxy. ​After ​being
left ​out ​to ​dry ​by ​a ​prior ​marketing ​consultant, ​the ​owner ​was ​desperate ​to ​find ​someone
who ​wouldn’t ​leave ​him ​out ​to ​dry.
So, ​as ​a ​couple ​of ​eager ​business ​school ​students ​itching ​to ​promote ​our ​fledgling
company, ​we ​chomped ​at ​the ​bit. ​We ​offered ​to ​pair ​his ​small ​business ​needs ​with ​a ​fellow
HBS ​student ​and ​former ​McKinsey ​consultant ​who ​would ​work ​with ​him ​to ​develop ​a
marketing ​strategy. ​This ​match ​could ​not ​have ​come ​at ​a ​better ​time: ​the ​burrito ​business
was ​floundering, ​and ​our ​fellow ​grad ​student ​were ​looking ​to ​find ​their ​next ​project.
Win-win.

The ​owner ​of ​the ​shop ​immediately ​said ​“yes”, ​we ​signed ​a ​short ​three-month ​contract, ​and
our ​first ​partnership ​was ​born: ​the ​Veggie ​Galaxy ​Burrito ​Marketing ​Campaign.
The ​principle ​behind ​our ​company ​is ​as ​simple ​now ​as ​it ​was ​back ​then: ​help ​the ​right,
talented ​people ​find ​the ​right ​project ​for ​their ​expertise. ​Born ​of ​humble
burrito-beginnings, ​we ​have ​found ​that ​this ​tenet ​has ​really ​struck ​a ​chord ​with ​our ​fellow
consultants.

This ​is ​in ​no ​small ​part ​due ​to ​the ​changing ​tides ​happening ​within ​the ​workforce ​at ​large.
As ​more ​and ​more ​workers ​demand ​flexibility, ​mobility, ​and ​control ​over ​their ​work, ​the
business ​world ​has ​been ​forced ​to ​take ​note ​and ​respond. ​All ​of ​those ​Fortune ​500
companies ​require ​leagues ​of ​talented ​individuals ​to ​support ​their ​organizations, ​and
hiring ​managers ​have ​found ​that ​hiring ​the ​right ​expert ​for ​their ​project ​means ​meeting
these ​freelancers ​on ​their ​own ​terms.

Recently, business ​experts ​from ​Intuit ​have ​stated ​that ​43% ​of ​the ​American ​workforce ​will
consist ​of ​freelancers ​or ​consultants ​by ​2020, ​up ​from ​34% ​currently ​in ​2017.

This ​upward ​trend ​in ​the ​workforce ​towards ​mobility ​and ​project-based ​work ​means ​a ​few
big ​things:
1. Major ​companies ​are ​being ​forced ​to ​reimagine ​their ​hiring ​strategies ​to ​avoid ​an
imminent “talent ​crisis”, ​favoring ​freelancers ​over ​full-time ​employees ​to
2. The ​“autonomous ​individual” ​is ​one ​who ​puts ​flexibility, ​a ​sense ​of ​purpose, ​and
societal ​impact ​up ​at ​the ​top ​of ​the ​list ​for ​how ​they ​find ​work.
3. More ​and ​more ​freelancers ​and ​consultants ​will ​be ​working ​remotely,
internationally ​and ​for shorter ​and ​shorter ​terms.

The ​way ​we ​see ​it, ​this ​all ​makes ​for ​a ​very ​exciting ​time. ​We ​at ​Catalant ​see ​that ​increasing
mobility ​in ​the ​workforce ​means ​greater ​access ​within ​the ​talent-side ​to ​finding ​and ​doing
the ​right ​projects ​for ​their ​experience ​and ​interests. ​What ​greater ​sense ​of ​purpose ​and
control ​could ​you ​have ​over ​your ​work ​than ​that?

And ​we ​don’t ​just ​see ​big ​moves ​towards ​greater ​flexibility ​in ​the ​workplace ​on ​the ​horizon:
we ​also ​see ​that ​the ​best ​prepared ​companies ​are ​the ​ones ​who ​use ​talent-access
platforms ​to ​stay ​ahead.

In ​the ​age ​of ​teleconferencing ​and ​global ​internet ​access, ​there’s ​no ​reason ​why ​a
freelancer ​can’t ​jump ​in ​on ​an ​as-needed ​basis. ​We ​are ​now ​finally ​beginning ​to ​see ​that
the ​smartest ​companies ​are ​the ​ones ​who ​are ​adapting ​now ​and ​adapting ​early ​to
capitalize ​on ​these ​changes ​in ​the ​workforce.

As ​restructuring ​traditional ​hiring ​practices ​becomes ​critical ​for ​a ​business’ ​success, ​we ​are
now ​witnessing ​the ​corporate ​world ​turn ​on ​its ​head. ​Not ​to ​mention, ​the ​global ​freelancer
market ​has ​begun ​to ​open ​up ​to ​a ​degree ​we’ve ​never ​seen ​before ​as ​a ​result ​of ​access
platforms ​assisting ​freelancers ​in ​finding ​corporate ​work.

From ​our ​end, ​it’s ​a ​thrill ​to ​witness—and ​assist—the ​corporate ​world ​in ​embracing ​what
we ​at ​Catalant ​have ​known ​for ​a ​long ​time: ​the ​gig ​economy ​is ​here ​to ​stay. ​Best ​to
embrace ​your ​freelancer ​than ​to ​be ​left ​behind ​in ​the ​dust.

If ​our ​experience ​in ​corporate ​matchmaking ​has ​taught ​us ​anything, ​it’s ​that ​the ​freelancing
world ​will ​emerge ​glorious ​and ​far ​ahead ​of ​the ​full ​time ​employment ​model ​of ​the ​past.
The ​modern-day ​freelancer ​has ​never ​been ​more ​empowered ​than ​they ​are ​in ​this
moment.

Long ​gone ​are ​the ​days ​of ​paper ​and ​pen ​recruiting ​and ​9-to-5 ​work.

Long ​live ​the ​freelancer. ​Long ​live ​mobile ​work.

In ​flexibility ​we ​trust. 

Rob Biederman is the co-founder and CEO of Catalant, the leading technology platform delivering elite business talent. Catalant’s innovative human capital solution connects top independent professionals with enterprises to tackle projects flexibly, quickly and efficiently. Catalant has built a global network of nearly 40,000 independent experts, boutique consulting firms, and custom teams as well as best-in-class software tools for engaging and managing this market. Based in Boston, Catalant serves thousands of clients, including Fortune 1000 companies like GE, Hess, and Staples, as well as countless others on a confidential basis. 


Prior to founding Catalant, Biederman was a private equity investor at Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital, where he focused on the healthcare and high-tech industries. Biederman attended Princeton University and graduated from Harvard Business School.
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