Thumbtack today released a report describing how skilled professionals are using new platforms to find new work and build their business – and their lives. Called “Beyond the Gig Economy: How New Technologies Are Reshaping the Future of Work,” the report explores how technology enables buyers and sellers of services to connect, moving the conversation beyond a one dimensional discussion of the so-called gig economy.
Thumbtack empowers over 200,000 active small business owners to connect with new clients using online tools that weren’t available to a previous generation of business owners. These tools are supporting skilled professionals by providing a cost-effective, performance-based platform for building their business that simply would not be possible without technological advances made over the past decade.
We believe that as automation increasingly takes the place of routine tasks performed by humans, the types of jobs performed by skilled professionals will be ever more important as a source of income and opportunity in future generations.
Key takeaways from the report include:
- The low-skilled gig economy job is unsustainable, whereas skilled professionals have the advantage of being difficult to outsource and resistant to automation.
- It is easier and cheaper than ever for skilled professionals to take part in the gig economy. Technology solutions like Thumbtack and new laws like the Affordable Care Act have removed obstacles that previously prevented many people from starting their own businesses.
- Skilled professionals report higher job satisfaction. 84% of skilled professionals surveyed “love what they do,” versus a Gallup survey of the general working population found that only 29% of Americans said they were “engaged” at work.
- Skilled professionals can earn higher pay. Because they are operating under their own brands and negotiating their own prices, skilled professionals can work for rates that work for them. Skilled professionals without a college degree report gross revenues for their businesses that are up to $20,000 higher than the median income of other similarly educated Americans.
- Skilled professionals overall have better job opportunities. While the commodity-focused gig economy thrives only in urban areas, skilled professional marketplaces are growing and thriving in every pocket of the country. Moreover, online professional marketplaces such as Thumbtack allow skilled professionals to grow their business more than before (on average 20% more), by connecting them to customers and assisting them with marketing services.
Technology is frequently seen as a threat to humans – either it is taking their jobs away or it is dooming them to a second class status by commoditizing their labor. But for skilled professionals, such as handymen or animal trainers, technology is helping them grow their business and connect with new clients on a daily basis. These platforms stand in contrast to platforms that are offering highly commoditized services like driving a car or delivering groceries. With skilled professionals, it matters who provides the service. Giving consumers the ability to quickly and cheaply choose the professional that is right for them is an important advance enabled by technology.
The full report is embedded below and can be downloaded here.