Today’s job market is undergoing a major shift toward freelancing. Traditional desk jobs are entering the “gig economy” at a rapid rate, as more and more skilled professionals prioritize the freedom and flexibility that freelancing affords. With 55 million Americans choosing to freelance in 2016 alone, it’s safe to say that the gig economy is here to stay.
One major catalyst for this growth and popularity lies in sharing platforms, which easily allow freelancers to showcase their skills and expertise, while seamlessly connecting clients with the skilled professionals they need. With everything from ride sharing to food delivery entering the playing field, the possibilities are endless. As surging popularity translates to surging competition, here are the key trends that will define the role sharing platforms play in the gig economy in the coming years.
Greater Client Involvement
Sharing platforms provide endless options for clients looking to find help with everything from weekend chores, to quick rides, to major business projects. Yet, in an industry based on client choice, most platforms operate by taking that choice away. Many popular sites connect clients with professionals by providing recommendations based on the task at hand and their specific needs—rather than allowing clients to choose for themselves. Even high-tech search algorithms will never know a client’s need better than the client themselves.
Allowing clients to choose who they work with can come in several forms. On Humans.net, we’ve created a transparent instant messaging system that lets users directly reach out to the freelancers they want to work with, and it has powerful benefits for both the freelancers and the clients. When clients can compare the credentials and qualifications of service providers, then communicate directly with those they are interested in working with, they get to know who they are hiring. Cutting out the middleman will make sharing platforms more transparent and more trustworthy—two things they often struggle to achieve.
Greater Diversity of Skills
The sharing economy provides a way for people with diverse skills sets and experience levels to market their services, while enabling individuals to find help with every type of task. So, why do most platforms limit the types of services clients can find on their sites? With more and more professionals choosing to enter the gig economy, the diversity of skills and services offered by freelancers will continue to expand. This will impact the evolution of sharing platforms in two key ways:
- Platforms that have built businesses specializing in one task such as Uber and Lyft will expand their offerings.
- Platforms designed for multiple service categories will continue to expand the diversity of skills and services featured on their sites.
These trends are ones that sharing platforms must pay attention to in order to meet the growing needs of their user base and remain competitive. By offering services for every task imaginable, our team has positioned Humans.net as an open platform that welcomes every person, no matter their skill, background or need.
Doing so has opened the door for more opportunities for our freelancers and made us a true one-stop-shop for clients looking for help with every and any type of task. Being accepting of all skill types and experience levels right from the start will help sharing platforms increase their diversity and expand their user base.
Greater Local Emphasis
Another benefit of sharing platforms (and freelancing in general) is they allow people to work with one another regardless of location. This works especially well for tasks such as graphic design, accounting, and consulting. Yet, as more people begin to realize that hired help is no longer a luxury, but something within reach, the need for household and other in-person help will grow. For tasks such as babysitting, house cleaning, and yard work, having local professionals available will be key to attracting clients.
By working to build individual local networks of skilled professionals, we’re ensuring we cater to clients that need in-person help, not only those that can be serviced remotely. Many customers prefer to work with people from their area so they can meet them in-person and feel like they know who they are hiring, especially when letting them into their home. This tactic will become increasingly important for sharing platforms as they look to build their pool of clients and service providers.
Sharing platforms have played a key role in the boom of the gig economy, providing a crucial tool for freelancers and clients to find and connect with one another. With more people recognizing the benefits of freelancing and the value in hiring freelancers, the use of sharing platforms will continue to surge in the coming years.
Creating more opportunities for client involvement, accommodating diverse skill sets, and emphasizing local options are just a few predictions for how sharing platforms will advance. Keeping up with these trends will be crucial in order to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving and expanding user base. Sharing platforms are here to stay, and the future of the gig economy looks brighter than ever.