Welcome to the talent shift! More than 40 percent of American workers will likely be independent contractors by the year 2020, according to numerous sources. But while half of Americans currently say they prefer traditional employment, that creates a challenge. It appears that workers would prefer the best of both worlds… the independence of freelancing and the benefits and security that come from a traditional job. Here are 3 key topics to watch to keep up with what is happening in the growing shift of talent.


Entrepreneurship isn’t a new idea. That pioneering spirit was just tamed by the industrial revolution, a wider availability of jobs and many other factors. The desire to work for oneself is still just as strong, according to a 2015 study by Intuit and Emergent Research.

Among other findings, the research showed that on-demand labor providers expect growth to the tune of about 18 percent within five years. Where 36 percent of workers were in the contingent workforce in 2015, 43 percent are expected to be there by 2020. The fact that the average unemployment duration has grown to well over a year plays an important role.


One of the greatest challenges in the life of a freelancer is the unpredictable nature of work and income. Sometimes there’s a feast and other times there’s a famine. Many people who embrace contract work value the freedom. But CBS recently interviewed Beyond Career Network senior VP, Joe Weinlick, and he said the majority of workers still want security.

Sixty-eight percent still want a regular job, said Weinlick. The reasoning, he explained, boils down to uncertainty and a lack of guaranteed income plus benefits. But it’s unwise to separate the freelancer population from that of the traditionalist. The growing trends show that change in the way that people view employment, and what they want out of it, is happening. And employers need to be ready.


Once the freelancer mindset begins to blend more with the traditionalist, employers and on-demand companies might be in for a surprise. According to a new Beyond study, a whopping 79 percent of freelancers believe that they should be entitled to benefits as long as certain conditions are met. But nearly half expect employee status regardless of any conditions. That shows a strong desire for security.

Ironically, traditional employers might be uniquely positioned to win some of the best talent away from on-demand companies. Workers want flexibility plus security. Employers offer security, and can reshape the employment landscape into a more flexible one. Working remotely or offering flexible hours, says Weinlick, is a major selling point for attracting the freelancer at heart. The way he’d approach it, he explained, is simple: offer benefits. He went on to say, “I’d promote the ability for people to share some of the benefits of working in the gig economy, except with pay.”