Let me propose one potential future to you—a future where most everything is done through the gig economy. Here is roughly how that might take place.
Companies get rid of many or most of their employees, and decide to go with short-term contracts instead. There is extraordinary data showing that 94% of job growth (jobs created vs. jobs lost) from 2005 to 2015 was in alternative (non-9-to-5) work.
People will have their respective skillsets, and all these skills will be part of their online profile—similar to what we have now with LinkedIn. Some people will be dog-sitters, paralegals, nurses, tech writers, EMTs, garbage collectors, accountants, security researchers, and hundreds of others. Your profile will also include your experience, your ratings, your credentials, and all of this will be validated through various third-party services.From a Harvard / Princeton study in 2016
Rather than use traditional contracting agencies, many companies will switch to using a dynamic, technology-based solution to find the right workers. They will simply put out a request for X number of Y type of workers, along with plenty of data about what an ideal candidate would look like, and that request will be sent to services like LinkedIn and UpWork where people have peoples’ profiles.
The service will then send a notification to eligible people who fit those requirements, e.g., someone who can edit a chapter for a book, who’s been highly rated as an editor on a successful book within the last year, and who also did so for fantasy-based fiction.
Everyone will be running the Work application on their phone, which is a universal application for finding either jobs or workers. Just like an Uber driver does today, people will receive an incoming request that says something like this, which they will either accept or decline.
Once the job is accepted, work will begin, the task will be performed, money will be transparently exchanged, ratings will be given on both sides, third-parties will validate those ratings, and both parties will move on.
We can be fairly sure this will happen because we’re already seeing it today in the form of multiple applications. There could be multiple players though, just as we currently have Uber and Lyft.
What will make this so powerful is that it will enable so much work to take place with very little friction. It’ll essentially enable peer-to-peer interaction without middleware companies taking a cut. There will still be fees associated with having your data on the platform, and perhaps with using the Work app, but they will be negligible compared to the time and effort of coordinating manually through a third party.
Need some stuff moved? Need someone to take a look at your son’s knee? Need a bodyguard for a concert? Need a website tested for vulnerabilities? These will all be done through an application like Work.
Even if you have a full-time job, most people will still run the Work app to supplement their income.
Background checks, insurance, reference checks, testimonials—all these things will be managed by the Work backend, which will be one or more companies like LinkedIn, UpWork, etc.
To be sure, there will still be jobs that companies will keep internal, and that still make sense to have as permanent positions rather than on contract. But given the current trending, most jobs will be temporary as opposed to permanent, and something like the Work app will be the result.
We’ll all be in the gig economy soon—but it’ll be for every skill we have.