The growing demand for flexible workforce skills is leading to a digital revolution in the freelance and contractor economy. While sites like PeoplePerHour have catered for the freelance piecework niche, a raft of platforms are taking on the task of joining up supply and demand for independent workers on a whole new scale. Organisations such as Facebook and Telos are among those evolving digital platforms that will cater for the growing demand for flexible independent workers.
As businesses seek to quickly adapt and grow in a difficult environment, the need for flexible specialist skills has never been greater. Add to this the many thousands of workers who have been made redundant and there’s obvious potential for ‘join up’ where both organisations and independent workers stand to benefit.
Even ahead of the current crisis, the global gig economy was predicted to reach £327 billion by 2023, according to a 2019 Mastercard study, which urged entrepreneurs to capitalise on the opportunity. In the face of ongoing lockdowns, 41% of businesses in a recent survey said they plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialised work.
Against this backdrop, the IT and cybersecurity company Telos is launching a new gig economy platform called TelosTask, applying blockchain technology to familiar models such as PeoplePerHour and Upwork. Built on the Telos blockchain, the new peer-to-peer platform will directly connect “task givers” to “task takers,” enabling them to coordinate and complete large and small projects.
Telos envisions the new platform will be used by flexible workers across a wide range of professional service sectors, from social media and writing assignments to graphic design and video production. Strong demand in sectors such as IT could also see workers choosing to go solo in order to capitalise on earning potential.
Meanwhile Facebook is also planning to enter the flexible workforce economy platform business by letting its users find and book services through its app. The platform is likely to be incorporated into its Marketplace classifieds tool introduced in 2016. According to Facebook, in just 18 months from launch Marketplace had amassed 800 million monthly global users.
The Future Workforce study commissioned by Upwork also shows a correlation between a company being remote and a company hiring flexible independent workers. With figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that almost 50% of adults are working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this trend looks set to fuel the freelance economy well into 2021. Changes to the IR35 rules in April will mean that contractors working through a limited company need to bear in mind how this may affect the assignments they choose.
If you’re starting a new contract, ContractingWISE has access to a wide range of hassle-free services that can help you with setting up a limited company or finding the right umbrella company for you. To talk to a member of our team, call: 0203 642 8679