It’s perhaps this type of worker that Michael Kearns at Toptal is referring to when he points out a different kind of gig economy, one with a flashier designation: the “talent economy.” In the standard gig economy, he states that “work is commoditized and the platform is the differentiator.” But in the talent economy, “the talent is the differentiator and the platform is an enabler.”
In other words, the talent economy is composed of individuals who are experts in their fields, using their abilities and skill sets to engage with a variety of projects among different companies. Instead of relying on internal workers, companies hire out certain tasks to external talent, which then works with the in-house team. A 2014 survey conducted by Deloitte discovered that just over half of executives anticipated the use of external talent to go up in the next 5 years. Toptal conducted their own survey in 2017 in which the number increased to over 76%. There’s no reason to think it won’t continue to rise.
Talent is drawn to this model because of its flexibility, wealth of opportunities, ability to work on projects they themselves find enjoyable and appealing, and the chance to work remotely, whether at home, in coworking spaces, or any other non-traditional means.