by James Bradley


A young person entering the workforce is on a different journey now. A great career has become a collection of rewarding projects and experiences, rather than a climb up a ladder to a leadership position. Networks of empowered teams are replacing traditional hierarchies. Leadership is increasingly developed early, by co-leadership and collaboration, rather than years of top-down mentoring and training. We are moving from the recommendations of individuals to the wisdom of crowds. As digital tools become ever more capable, the challenge to make the best use of them overwhelms many organizations. And the rate of change shows no sign of slowing. Some highlights:


1. By 2020, 43% of the American workforce will be freelance. 1

The Gig Economy is growing significantly.2 This is driven both by employers, who prefer variable costs and who benefit from the flexibility to bring in specialized expertise for particular projects; and equally by the evolving desires of the workforce, for many of whom the FTE models that provided security to their parents feel like a confining lifestyle which holds little interest for them.


2. Every single company now needs a workforce that is skilled in UX, digital systems building and IT.

Even if there is nothing digital about your company’s product, you are using digital technologies to design and produce it. You’re also using digital tools to run your business, for HR, recruiting, finance, collaboration and communication. A mix of full-time staff and temporary high-expertise workers is the most effective way for many companies to build and manage this infrastructure.


3. Knowledge workers increasingly value diversity of experience and quality of life over security and having a career “track”.

Highly skilled professionals, knowing they are in demand, increasingly require both flexibility in their work schedule and quality interactions during projects. Consulting and contingent staffing models allow employers to utilize these valuable people on terms that serve everyone’s needs, with employers paying for specific capability only when they need it.


4. New consulting models are emerging in which the client and the consulting firm collaborate - on formation of the team, development of the SOW and project management.

ASGN’s companies leverage thousands of established relationships with highly skilled contingent staff to create teams that are perfectly matched to client projects. Traditional consulting firms must employ whatever staff consultants are available, which can limit the quality of their response. ASGN’s model allows it to provide best-in-class talent, with wide flexibility against changing customer demand and with minimal fixed costs. 


5. Work and life in balance

To fully engage the workforce that will be in place five years from now will require a deep understanding of the employee journey. With high-quality worker experiences as a guiding principle, each ASGN company develops enduring relationships with members of its workforce. From an initial freelance job, to a fulltime opportunity, then back to freelance or perma-lance, our companies become a long-term part of a worker’s employment journey.


Times are changing. ASGN is here to help.





[1] NASDAQ: The Gig Economy, June 14, 2017

[2] The number was just 33% in 2014: Lauren Weber, One in three U.S. workers is a freelancerWall Street Journal, September 4, 2014


Additional sources:

Rewriting the Rules for the Digital Age, 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte University Press

Digital Disruption and the Staffing Industry, July 23, 2017, by John Nurthen, Executive Director of Global Research, Staffing Industry Analysts

The 2016 Field Nation Freelancer Study: The changing face of the new blended workforce, by Field Nation