Thumbtack, an online professional services marketplace, today released a new original report: “Beyond the Gig Economy: How New Technologies are Reshaping the Future of Work.” The report investigates the current "gig economy" - a market built on many short-term positions and employees - as well as examining the workforce of the future.

Thumbtack’s report examines proprietary data from tens of thousands of small businesses, as well as the latest economic data and forecasts.

“Popular discussions about the gig economy have focused on the proliferation of on-demand, low-skilled jobs such as Uber drivers and Instacart shoppers, consisting mostly of people looking to earn extra income, but who are not building a lifelong career or achieving long term economic stability,” said Marco Zappacosta, founder and CEO of Thumbtack, in a statement. “But technology is also transforming work for individuals and small businesses, creating unprecedented opportunity for a growing class of skilled professionals. This new report from Thumbtack addresses how skilled professionals are redefining work and changing the face of the American middle class, and what we need to do to help them succeed.”

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • 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 overall have better job opportunities. While the commodity-focused gig economy exists largely in major metropolitan areas, marketplaces are growing across the country. Online professional marketplaces (such as Thumbtack) also allow skilled professionals to grow their business by connecting them to customers and assisting them with marketing services.
  • Skilled professionals are career-focused, not “gig” focused. According to the report, two-thirds of skilled professional respondents revealed they are using technology-powered marketplaces to build and grow their primary business, rather than those doing work to earn extra money.

“The skilled professional is the real future of the gig economy and is a sharp contrast from the low-skilled ‘gigs’ that currently receive so much media attention,” continued Zappacosta. “It is important that policy makers, tech companies, and workers come together in support of this growing class of small businesses and individual entrepreneurs.”
For the full report, head to the Thumbtack Journal.