Rise of the Freelance Economy

Cincinnati, OH | Posted: 02/14/2016 | Author: April Koenig

Rise of the Freelance Economy

The landscape of how we do business is changing. Not just in regards to technology and innovation, but the way businesses increasingly rely on freelance, contract and temporary help. 15.5 million people were self-employed as of May 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; one million more than the previous year. 

What spurred the rise of the freelance economy? Many factors are cited, and some of them aren’t so good. Corporate downsizing due to the great recession was inevitable, and the economic bounce-back has been spotty at best. Shifting economic realities due to newly-enacted federal guidelines have led to what some call a ‘part-time’ economy. Paired with growing employee dissatisfaction, these and other factors have fueled the trend to more contract employees.

However, other factors leading to the “rise of the supertemp”, as Harvard Business Review calls it, have been inevitable, and much more positive. There are infinitely more new ways to work from home, including apps and software that lets us feel like we’re in the office when really far away. Devices can bring global talent to a local level, helping both employers and freelance artists alike. 

Another result of a freelance economy means better transparency and competition for projects. Rather than being stuck with a full time employee, employers can parse out projects to artists with various degrees of expertise better suited to each task. This widens the pool of potential talent.

This practice leads to a need for support and services for contract employees that are usually reserved for permanent workers. Human resources, accounting and other traditional aspects of employment are increasingly found in different areas for freelancers. Co-working spaces, web resources and other services can help independent contractors get the guidance needed. Placement agencies like Creatives On Call can also fill a portion of this need for employers and artists alike with expertise in matching the best talent to the current need. Whether the trend is passing or here to stay, employers that are adjusting to a freelance economy are staying ahead of the game.

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