The way that companies employ office workers today is outdated and “insane” in light of new technologies, and skilled professionals in the future will work in a more gig based way, Patrick Petitti, co-CEO of Catalant Technologies said.
Catalant runs a matchmaking service that connects companies with professionals-on-demand for specific projects. Users sign up through the website or access the service through a number of consulting firms that Catalant works with. Their profile is then put in front of company managers that are hiring for projects, and at the end of the work the employee is given a rating.
Matches are made by a machine learning algorithm based on a worker's skills, interests, experience, suitability for a project, and the rating level they have gained from previous gigs. The platform allows professionals to take jobs when they like, choose their hours, the length of the projects they take, the company they work for and the number of jobs or projects they do per year.
Catalant is one of a few companies competing in this space which represents an expansion of the gig economy to the office. Petitti believes the technology will increasingly shift people away from traditional jobs that are tied to one company.
Petitti and his co-CEO, Rob Biederman, argue people are beginning to see their careers differently, more as series of life experiences rather than service to one organisation. They say this way of working is more engaging.
"The way that people have worked traditionally is honestly kind of depressing... The fact that you had to have a company tell you what to do, when to do it, where to it, just isn’t right. We live in a world of technology where people should be able to work on the things they care about and they should have more control over how they live,"Petitti said.
"When you give somebody a mission in a project that has a distinct beginning, middle and end with a goal - that's a lot more exciting than just being a marketing manager. A lot of jobs have this inertial aspect to them which is not as satisfying for the worker," said Biederman.
Despite the apparent benefits, gig working also comes with concerns around job security, consistent pay, workers rights. Freelance work can have benefits, but may not suit everyone as it can be more precarious with no pay for holiday and no guarantees of more work after a project ends.
Frank Field, a British lawmaker said: "With the law as it stands, workers in any sector of the gig economy are vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous employers, finding themselves in the 'worst of all worlds' situation of bogus self-employment." He calls for changes in the law to adequately protect workers as the gig economy grows.
But the shift will likely happen regardless of these concerns. The American Freelance Union published a report last year which said that freelancers now make up 36% of the US workforce and are due to outnumber traditional workers by 2027, showing the shift to the gig economy is much bigger than Catalant Technologies.
The two Harvard educated CEOs say their model shouldn't drive pay or rights downwards and that people do overwhelmingly want to work in this new way. “The statistics in the shift in the freelance economy are across the globe" Petitti said.