Gen Z and millennials seeking flexibility are changing corporate America, Upwork CEO says

Freelance contractor Upwork had its finest progress 12 months as a public firm final 12 months and CEO Hayden Brown sees no signal of momentum that began earlier than the coronavirus pandemic slowing down when the economic system reopens.

Younger employees, scarred by a job market battered by two recessions in simply over a decade, are more and more seeking extra management and flexibility over their careers. The developments have solely been heightened by the distant work world, giving corporations a possibility to regulate and faucet into a world expertise pool of impartial professionals, she informed CNBC Wednesday.

“The paradigm has totally shifted,” Brown, showing on “Mad Money,” mentioned, explaining that recessions in 2007 and 2020 dampened employees’ belief and loyalty. “We’ve seen that again for years. That’s not a new trend, but it has certainly accelerated today with more than half of Gen Z freelancing and 59 million Americans freelancing.”

Gen Z, brief for Generation Z, is made up of younger individuals at the moment in or coming into maturity who are now navigating their means via a pandemic-hobbled economic system. The age group is often known as zoomers.

Millennials, the older counterpart, got here of age through the Great Recession.

Upwork, a labor market that went public in 2018, helps companies harness the gig economic system for each short-term and long-term tasks. The impartial economic system has disrupted varied industries, giving rise to family names like Uber and DoorDash.

Brown mentioned greater than 70% of freelancers on the platform are faculty educated and many are incomes excessive wages.

Unlike ride-hailing apps like Uber, which noticed revenues tank 21% amid the pandemic after years of multi-digit progress, the small-cap Upwork noticed enterprise speed up in 2020. Revenues of the Santa Clara, California-based firm surged 24% final 12 months to $373.63 million.

Shares are up 522% over the previous 12 months and hit a 52-week excessive Wednesday earlier than closing at $53.36.

“This is a long-term trend that has been happening in the workforce, and companies are waking up to the fact that if they want to be working with the best talent, they have to be tapping into the independent economy,” Brown mentioned. “They cannot be limiting themselves to full-time employees.”

In 2021, Upwork expects enterprise to develop a minimum of 23%. The $6.5 billion firm offered income steerage of $460 million to $470 million for the full-year.

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