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

In Flexibility We Trust

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
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.

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

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

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.
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Linda Abraham of Accepted: “I Can Change”

by Charlie Katz

Why I Kidnapped My Daughter

by Simone Silver
Red Clover Human Resources Hiring Strategies

5 Ways Companies Are Identifying Talent with Jennifer L’Estrange & Kage Spatz

by Kage Spatz

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.