The makeup of an office used to be: the boss, then managers, followed by the your normal daily grind workers. It goes without saying that even within the ranks of the average 9-5’er there were still levels of hierarchy and seniority. There was also of a sense of community and that you saw the same people every day and the work was split among those who could do it, but things are starting to change.
Just as with the uptick in remote workers, more employers are starting to turn to freelancers or consultants (“gig workers”) rather than hire a full time or part time employee. As I have discussed, and SHRM points out, there is no shortage of people vying for these roles – the new rules of how our marketplace works make it convenient for people to remain fluid, as that is what the job market is demanding of them, as things are always changing; contracting and expanding with the economy. This is a trend seen, not just in the U.S., but in many parts of the developed world.
On the other side of the coin, there is also the message that to stand out or to make an impression on the job market, you need to specialize in one thing. This is where the delination between freelancer and consultant come into play – both are independently employed but one is more of a specialist in a certain field. Rather than pursuing a career and all the extraneous ties that come with it at one place, a person decides to make a career out of what they do best - or giving advice about what they do best.
There are several take-aways here. The first being that people wanting to make their own hours or focus on their own brand is neither a new or a novel thing. It is also not going to go anywhere anytime soon. In almost all of the articles noted above, there is the comment about Millennials causing this shift, but in reality, it has always existed, just not in the forefront as much as today. A large part of that in my opinion, is an educated workforce, who does not want to settle, in more ways than the literal definition. The other takeaway from this is that, like everything else we discussed on this blog, from social media to different recruiting tactics or enticements, only you will know what will work best for your company.