The Starbucks Generation!

starbuckslogo2Staffing is one of the most critical parts to the success of any company. While finding and attracting the right talent can be tough, it’s not as difficult as it once was. As the free agent economy continues to grow, there are more and more options to building your workforce, for both the short and long term. As I build my own company, I am now practicing what I have been preaching for years – that you can find great talent online.

In recent years, there have been a surge of websites that act essentially as online job marketplaces for freelancers. Sites such as ODesk and eLance provide companies access to thousands of talented and well-qualified independent contractors. These sites can not only provide additional staff to larger companies but they can also provide tremendous value to the small business economy, especially if you are targeting what Go Daddy calls “The Very Small Business”. I often tell my clients to look at these sites and study the behavior of the different verticals available, such as Sales and Marketing or Copywriting. By reading the job descriptions and analyzing the types of words and language used, companies can gain insights into how to position their own marketing communications.

As site like these continue to see success, it is obvious that the free agent economy is not only booming but also it is continuing to grow as a rapid pace. Some corporate leaders do fear these independent consultants because they have their doubts about telecommuting, require hands-on supervision, they spread themselves too thin across multiple clients, and  that they could potentially really act like free agents, going to the highest bidder. The reality is that a blended workforce — combining both free agents and loyal full-time employees is probably the best solution. Many high tech companies have proven this to be a viable model.

Big companies can no longer ignore the independent contractor market. MBO recently came out with its annual report and some of the key statistics seem to prove this point.

For example:

  • Today, 17 million people are independent contractors. This number is scheduled to grow to 24 million by 2018.

  • 77% of Independent contractors are committed to remaining free agents.

  • 64% are highly satisfied with their current situation of working out of their homes, at Starbucks, etc. The flexibility of working from home, working on your own time, etc. is a driving factor in the growing number in independent contractors and leads to the high job satisfaction rates, which equals happier employees and better quality work

  • Close to $1.2 Trillion have been generated by this segment. This is up from 20% in 2012.

  • There exists a multiplier effect because independent contractors tend to hire each other

The report also goes into the demographics of each of these groups and it may surprise you. For instance, Gen Y or millennials, which I refer to as the Starbucks Generation, make up 20% or almost 4 million people of this segment. To understand more about this generation, read my book Millennial Leaders. I call them the Starbucks Generation because they represent today’s assembly line. Unlike the past when assembly lines existed on the farm or in factories, today’s specialized labor exist behind the counter in Starbucks, Peets’, and McDonalds.

Each week, I work out of four different Starbucks in my neighborhood and each one employs several well educated college graduates. They kids (I can call them that cause I am over 50) are great — motivated, talented and trying to make a dime. In future posts, I will share some of my interviews with them.

Yes, independent contractor are everywhere.

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