This year, amid a global pandemic that forced us to classify work in terms of how essential it is to society, labor took on a whole new meaning. The pandemic has massively crippled the global economy, causing thousands of lost jobs, wages, and productivity. The US alone went from near record lows for unemployment to 14.7% within a couple of months. It stands at 8.4% as of August.
So when Labor Day rolled around, I couldn’t help but consider its meaning. Who exactly are we talking about when it comes to labor? I think for too many years in our country’s history, labor meant the ‘blue-collar’ worker, but I would argue that independent contractors can also be included as well. By independent contractors, I’m talking about anyone who is considered a ‘gig worker’ like the Uber and Lyft drivers, those who deliver your food via DoorDash and Postmates.
So as we’re seeing our world turned upside down because of Covid-19, millions of Americans remain jobless and need to find new sources of income.
For years, we’ve seen a steady increase in the whole notion of ‘being your own boss’ where an individual really doesn’t have to work for a company and can instead ‘do their own thing.’ This trend is only heightened because of the pandemic. For example, Upwork saw a two-fold increase in new freelancer registrations. And experts agree these workers are a force to be recognized in the new economy. A Toptal survey showed that 90% of companies depend on freelancers to augment their professional workforce. It’s no wonder, given 57 million Americans, or 35% of the country’s workforce, making their living self-employed.
In light of this year’s Labor Day, I believe that ‘labor’ should encompass both ‘blue-collar’ and ‘white-collar’ workers, and that hiring more freelancers will become the norm in our daily business, benefiting both the employer and the contractor.
The Case for Hiring More Freelancers
About a year ago, I noticed a trend. As the CEO of a digital marketing agency, I saw that many companies like hiring in-house marketing expertise over agencies. But hiring a contractor versus a full-time staff employee versus can present dramatic cost savings to the employer, mainly when the work requires significant expertise, but fewer than 40 hours per week….
Source: The Staffing Stream