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

In Flexibility We Trust

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.
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

David White of Menlo Coaching: “Charge what you need to in order to deliver a great service”

by Jerome Knyszewski

Why I Kidnapped My Daughter

by Simone Silver
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.