LinkedIn’s Services Marketplace Adds Heat to the Gig Economy
The Freelance Revolution, The Great Resignation, whatever you want to call it, it’s hard to avoid hearing about the ways work life has drastically changed over the past year. And last week saw even more news that adds fuel to this shift in today’s global work force.
LinkedIn, the leading social platform used by over 800 million professionals in more than 200 countries for finding full-time employment and professional networking, released its expansion into the freelance market space by announcing a new service aimed specifically at freelancers.
The new feature, ‘Services Marketplace’, primarily enables working professionals to easily promote themselves to those looking to hire talent for specific tasks and was launched alongside other features, such as additional filters to find jobs that are remote, hybrid, or on-site, that also reflect the changes in today’s work environment.
But if the idea of launching a marketplace for professionals to offer their services to those looking to hire talent for specific tasks sounds familiar, you’d be right. LinkedIn’s new feature essentially has the potential to bring them into the space with some of the world’s largest freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork, combining to grow the industry as a whole. With LinkedIn’s vast database of executive professionals leaning more towards the US and developed countries, though, the type of work promoted there is unlikely to be of the $50 design type work found on Fiverr or Upwork but will rather lie at the more exclusive and much higher end of the payment scale.
Of course, these platforms are far from being the only ones out there. Indeed, when so many new marketplace platforms have launched recently, covering so many niches, LinkedIn’s foray into the space only underscores how hot the freelancing trend is right now.
Why Has LinkedIn Launched Services Marketplace?
With the current global pandemic as a catalyst, the digital economy has shown significant growth in recent years as an increasing number of people have begun to consider a career in freelancing. Rapid changes in technology and workplace expectations have also proven that there’s no longer a singular way to work and traditional employment models are just one of many options.
As pointed out in some of our recent reports, The State of Freelancing During COVID-19 and An Abundance of Opportunities, as well as a recent Global Survey on Freelancing, an increasing number of younger professionals now expect, even demand, more flexible working conditions that includes the autonomy to express their talents more broadly.
In turn, corporations, both large and small, have had to adapt to these expectations with an estimated 73% of hiring managers planning to continue or boost their reliance on freelancers. This, of course, is due to the considerable advantages this mode of work offers corporations too. By hiring freelancers these organizations can get projects done quicker, and at lower cost, than hiring full-time employees. They’re also able to find talent way beyond their geographical proximity and instead access the very best talent across the entire world. Furthermore, onboarding this talent is also much quicker as freelance professionals and teams can be vetted within days or weeks compared to the months long process of onboarding full-time employees.
It’s not surprising, then, after observing this growing trend of freelancing, and even before, LinkedIn had the vision of expanding the way people connect professionally in today’s global economy. Indeed, since October 2019, when LinkedIn acquired UpCounsel, a startup that connected freelance lawyers with businesses, the writing was on the wall that it was heading in this direction. That vision then came to semi-fruition in February this year when it began rolling out a beta version of Services Marketplace to members in the U.S. and saw an impressive two million users signing up. So, with the new feature now available to all its users worldwide, and for free, it’s clear we can expect that number to escalate even more rapidly, and to much greater numbers, over the next few months.
The Payments Question
Before we get too carried away, though, despite the fact that LinkedIn’s new Services Marketplace was launched on the back of $9 billion of revenues in 2020, freelancers may do well to keep things in perspective.
While LinkedIn’s new feature is intended to replace its current job posting offering, ProFinder, it is currently not possible to invoice a client for work done on Services Marketplace. In addition, there is also no way of getting paid for work done directly through the LinkedIn platform.
In this respect, Fiverr, Upwork, Toptal, and many other freelance marketplaces are far ahead in the game. By teaming up with a payments solution like Payoneer, these freelance platforms are able to pay freelancers in over 150 countries, enabling them to connect with and get paid by clients no matter where in the world they reside.
How To Get Paid from LinkedIn’s Services Marketplace
Although LinkedIn does not yet offer a payment solution for freelancers looking for work on Services Marketplace, Payoneer does.
Through Payoneer’s ‘Request a Payment’ and multi-currency receiving accounts, freelancers can raise invoices, send payment requests and receive payments from clients all over the world. With over 150 currencies to choose from (USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, JPY, SGD, and many more), freelancers can receive funds in a currency that is convenient to them and their client without needing to open a local bank account in the client’s country. They can then withdraw their earnings to their local bank account at much lower cost than an international wire transfer, all in a matter of hours.
Having completed work for a client found on LinkedIn’s Services Marketplace, freelancers can also request a payment through a variety of payment methods, directly from within their Payoneer account, attach or create their own invoice, and continue to track where their payment is until it arrives.
Once funds have arrived, they can then be used to withdraw to a local bank account, withdraw at ATMs worldwide (with Payoneer’s prepaid card) or be used to pay for any freelance business expenses.
Exciting Times Ahead
The entry of LinkedIn to the freelance market space is a great indication that freelancers are absolutely in the right business. Reinforced by another online giant, Facebook’s potential plans to enter the space sometime in the near future is even more evidence that the gig economy is hotter than ever.
And while some like LinkedIn are just dipping their toes in this increasingly competitive landscape, others like Fiverr and Upwork have been providing services for freelance solopreneurs and teams, as well as the small and large organizations that employ them, for many years already.
For marketplaces like these, connecting them to clients and freelancers to help facilitate payments across the world, sits Payoneer, the go-to partner for digital commerce everywhere.
For more information on how Payoneer helps freelancers get paid by clients and marketplaces worldwide, check out our services for freelancers.
Are you a marketplace? See how Payoneer can help you manage mass payouts to your freelancer users along with many other financial services.