Harnessing Human Capital: Jobs of the Future

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Written by Pauline Gebczak, Contributor

“In 2020, 40 percent of people will be working for themselves.” Howard Tullman, the CEO of 1871 threw out this statistic during a recent panel discussion on “Collective Entrepreneurial Creativity” held by The Executives’ Club of Chicago. Although many recognize the changing landscape of today’s workforce, what does it really mean? Is “collective entrepreneurial creativity” the future of innovation?

The global marketplace for remote workers, oDesk, came out with an eye-opening study about entrepreneurship, freelancers, and millennials. This study was done in collaboration with Millennial Branding, a research and consulting firm dedicated to Gen Y employees.

An increase in freelance jobs may be the answer to many problems, leading the next generation with solutions through innovation. By working for themselves and not being constrained by corporations, individuals may be able to work more creatively and come up with innovative ideas. More so, the community of freelancers can come together to share their ideas and collaborate.

This shift in the workforce means an increase in the rise of startups, but also dissatisfaction with the corporate environment. oDesk found that 72 percent of entrepreneurs at “regular” jobs mean to quit and become entirely independent. The study also showed that the top reason for workers setting out on their own was for the freedom and flexibility.

oDesk also looked at how workers relate to the word entrepreneur, showing that 90 percent of workers associate the phrase with having a certain mindset rather than just the action of starting a company. This particular statistic is quite telling of why freelancers and entrepreneurs may be the change needed to solve some of today’s challenges. The mindset of creativity, seeking out solutions, and collaborating by connecting with other people with the same goals, is a powerful force. Of those surveyed, 69 percent responded that they believe freelance work is more interesting. Passionate people who believe in their work will be able to broaden their horizons and generate new ideas.

Many college graduates are faced with a poor job market but the good news is that many employers are looking to hire freelancers. Economic Modeling Specialists reported that in the last four years, 15 percent of job growth across the United States and 40 percent of new jobs came from work done by freelancers.

Unlike past generations, Millennials are not as set on finding one career for life or staying with one company throughout their professional lives. In fact, 82 percent of those surveyed, from multiple generations, said that having one employer for life was not appealing.

While the benefits of becoming an entrepreneur and pursuing a freelance position are rewarding, there are also many uncertainties that come along with choosing this career path. Hard work and complete self-reliance does not seem to inhibit the ambitions of the millennial generation. Growing up in an uncertain world where a college degree did not necessarily mean success, self-reliance may just be the highlight of being a freelancer. Organizations like the Freelancers Union are quickly springing up and providing support to a growing community of freelancers and entrepreneurs.

The world is becoming smaller through technology and the ability to stay interconnected. At the same time the world has become a much bigger place with a growing number of people pursuing their passions and creating a huge market for ideas and innovation. Celebrating individuality and unique points of view will nurture the future of freelancers so that our global community of innovators continues to grow.

While corporations still provide millions of jobs across the globe, the circumstances in which we live and the realities of those now entering the workforce are rapidly changing. The global market of workers is looking for new opportunities that fit their individual wants and needs, and it may just end up creating a new generation of innovation.

For complete results from the study done by oDesk and Millennial Branding visit https://www.odesk.com/info/spring2013onlineworksurvey/.

This article was originally published in the Diplomatic Courier’s September/October 2014 print edition.