Sovereign Individual

Written by Tyler Kastelberg

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Happy Sunday!

This week, I handed the keyboard to Max Shedlosky who leads the talent side of our business. 

Max is a big believer that the gig economy is the future of work … which aligns with his belief in “the sovereign individual,” and coincidentally, Bullpen’s business model.  

In this week’s letter, Max outlines the MASSIVE shift in how people work and its impact on the economy.  

Grab a tea, put your feet up, and let’s get to it. 

The Sovereign Individual

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gig economy was already well on its way to becoming the backbone of the job market. The labor force was increasingly opting out of traditional full-time positions and pursuing gig jobs such as ride-sharing, food delivery, freelance writing, and digital marketing.

The pandemic unsurprisingly bolstered this trend. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal published on November 29th, 2021, “The pandemic has unleashed a historic burst in entrepreneurship and self-employment. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are striking out on their own as consultants, retailers, and small-business owners.” 

The WSJ also reported that the share of U.S. workers who work for a company with at least 1,000 employees has fallen for the first time since 2004.

The immediate effect of the increase of self-employed individuals has certainly been felt, but will the trend persist?

Mastercard thinks so – according to their research, the global gig economy is expected to grow from $204B in 2018 to $455B in 2023, a CAGR of 17.4%. 

In the United States, the total number of freelancers is expected to grow from 57 million currently to 86 million by 2027.

So what exactly is the driving force behind the gig economy?

Obviously, technological advances such as the internet have given us the opportunity to work remotely outside of a traditional office setting. However, its rise can also be attributed to macroeconomic forces such as inflation of goods coupled with wage stagnation. Participants in the labor force are increasingly looking for other means to supplement their income.

Additionally, much can be learned by looking at the market on a more granular scale. 

Gig economy workers are more satisfied with their freelance path: 79% of full-time independents said they were happier working on their own than at a traditional job. 

According to a report just published by the Social Market Foundation, factors that play into this are flexibility, control, training, and uncapped earnings.

The information age has transformed the way we live and interact with each other, and it’s already well on its way to transforming our workforce. Like it or not, the days of an early morning commute to a traditional office setting seem to be numbered.

Catch ya next week!

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