6 trends to watch in 2021
On-demand work: Watch these 6 trends in 2021
As we all know, 2020 caused upheaval for many businesses, but it hasn’t slowed the global shift to freelancing in any way. We’ve seen experts predicting that a large part of the workforce will go freelance for a long time now, but it was often seen as a rather gradual shift that would take place over the years to come. Then COVID-19 came and caused it to happen in a matter of months.
Adding to this, companies are in a constant race for success and as we’ve argued so many times before, they need to be agile to win that race.
Here are 6 main trends we believe will continue to erupt in 2021 and the years to come.
- Hybrid workforces
Hybrid workforces are the currency of the future. Contract workers provide inherent flexibility – major benefits can be had from restructuring the post-COVID organization towards a hybrid workforce. Recent studies show that agility tops the list of priorities for companies across the board, and some even reveal that two-thirds of CEOs feel agility is the new business currency. Although approximately 70% of companies are working on digital transformation strategies, the progress is not sufficient enough to protect them from the economic and operational consequences which COVID-19 brought to them. The solution? Businesses have been leaning on contract workers to operate more efficiently because most have realized that blending full-time and freelance workers provides a competitive advantage (which you can read a lot more about in our e-book)
- Leaning more on contractors to fill technical skill gaps
As freelancers keep taking up a larger percentage of the global workforce each year, current specializations may not be “niche” enough – we’re entering a period of ‘deep niching’ where consultants are assessing their true strengths and stand-out skills. Many skills are already in shortage in the job market. In last year’s World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, WEF refers to an acceleration in the adoption of new technologies. That shift to systems automation has shined a spotlight on fast-growing skill gaps in for example Artificial Intelligence, Encryption, Big Data, Internet of Things and robotics. Simply put, businesses are struggling to fill roles that require specialized skills, so they expand their use of contractors for tasks that require specialized skill sets.
- Skilled professionals will prefer freelancing over traditional employment
Simultaneously with more companies leaning on freelancers to fill skill gaps, the skilled professionals will continue to change to freelancing. The growing demand for jobs that require specialized skill sets puts a premium on contract workers who possess these skills. And that’s great news for both sides of the table.
Not only that, bringing a highly skilled independent contractor on board for specific projects can save companies a large amount of money as compared to a full-time team member. It also gives organizations the chance to start new projects faster compared to lengthy recruitment processes and training.
- Remote work has come to stay
The COVID-19 pandemic has truly opened the world's eyes for remote work. A growing number of workers can live wherever they want and still have access to a variety of job opportunities they otherwise could not pursue. Many companies are accommodating this new preference, and this also includes some of the tech sector’s biggest players. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook’s 48.000 employees that they expect close to 50% of the company will be working remotely within 10 years. Google is planning to do the same and Twitter has made their “work from home forever” options official. Considering benefits like reduced commute times, lower pollution levels, reduced operational costs and increase morale, being open to the remote work from the home business model will be in increasing trend.
- The pay for freelancers is on the rise
As a result of the aforementioned growing amount highly skilled freelancers, the pay for freelancers is on the rise. A report from MBO partners found that one in five freelancers earns over $100,000 per year. Another report found that 60% of freelancers who left their full-time job now make more money as a freelancer.
- Freelance work will become even more stable
For a long time, freelancing was seen as an unstable career choice with an unpredictable income and freelancers not qualifying for things such as health insurance. More and more organizations are rolling out plans for how to implement and onboard freelancers, as well as including them in the culture and way of life in the specific organization. For 2021, you can expect to see more organizations popping up that are designed to support freelancers and provide more stability.
Are you a freelance consultant and looking to stand out on LinkedIn for potential employers? Check out these 7 tips to make your LinkedIn profile stand out, and as always, make sure your Free Agents™ profile is up to date.