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The data around the changing world of work asks is this all a scam?

Another romp through the world of work.

Meta and Lyft employees have been told that while they are reopening offices in January and February, respectively, the option to work from home will be on the table. 

Glassdoor released a report that predicts a walk back or reduction of location-based pay adjustments.    That among a landscape that Upwork’s Freelance forward survey indicates involves a lot more freelancing, contributing 1.3 trillion dollars to the US economy in 2021, up $100 million from 2020.    The study also found that 59 million Americans performed freelance work in the past 12 months, representing 36%—or more than one-third—of the entire U.S. workforce. 

Pulling from TechRepublic: One of the interesting findings is that freelancing is growing among highly educated workers. Some 51% of post-grad workers did freelancing work, up 6% since 2020while the share of high school graduates or less freelancing has declined from 37% in 2020 to 31% this year, the report said.

Skilled remote freelancing also continued to grow in 2021. The research found that 53% of all freelancers provided professional services such as computer programming, marketing, IT, and business consulting in 2021, up from 50% in 2020, Upwork said.

And related data coming out of the Boston Consulting Group, which found that Seventy-three percent of worker respondents said they plan to switch positions in the next two to three years, while 40% are currently job-hunting. Most (63%) said they were looking due to wanting “better career opportunities in other roles,” while the desire for a new challenge (49%) and feeling undervalued in their current role (36%) were also significant contributing factors. Nearly all (95%) wanted to work remotely full or part-time.  

The capper to this segment – Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s exploration of the world of consultancy around the chaos in the world of work and “return to the office.”     A core premise is how fear, uncertainty, and doubt are “catnip for consultants.” A significant comparison – Y2K consulting.   

Why do we care?

I did a webinar this week actually focused on the opportunity in the world of the change of work, where I am self aware enough to say I’m one of those consultants exploring opportunity.   There IS confusion in this space, and thus there IS opportunity… and it’s also true that there is a lot of space for charlatans.  

My take – the two are not at odds.     Just because something is not fully known doesn’t mean organizations don’t need help navigating.      The desire is a single answer – there isn’t going to be a single answer.      This space is a collision of people and technology, and thus why IT providers are in the mix and should be focused here, but searching for the one answer is an exercise in futility.  The direction instead is try, test, measure, and iterate… finding the unique solutions for each customer. 

And unique is why this IS a good space for consultants.