Great changes are afoot for LinkedIn, the professional office worker’s social network. It has announced last Wednesday August 24 its plans to significantly expand its footprint in the fast growing and potentially lucrative online freelance, or “gig”, job economy. This move is being promoted as an organic shift from LinkedIn’s original forte as an online platform for regular job-seeking and company hiring.
According to Inc., a recent email statement from LinkedIn has noted on a new trend on the world’s largest workers’ social networking site. This is a steadily growing number of freelance or gig professional workers joining the online platform; it has increased up to 50% over a period of five years. All these freelancers are in the market for gigs or short-term jobs as well as new leads in online business,stated Linked spokesperson Kenly Walker. "To ensure we're providing the same type of value for these independent workers as those in more traditional 9-to-5 professions, we've been piloting ProFinder,a marketplace that connects consumers with independent service providers,” he added.
As of its August 24 launch, LinkedIn ProFinder now covers more than 140 service areas, offering a freelance online marketplace that brings together individual consumers and small businesses with a wide selection of skilled and dedicated online freelance professionals ready to provide any short-term service asked for, whether it be design brainstorming, writing and editing, real estate, accounting, career coaching and so on.
By drawing on the massive database of the main LinkedInnetwork, prospective clients are sure to be able to contract with gig professionals who can take on any job they have lined up. These freelancers can fill a small business website with top online content, handle the filing of a client’s taxes, or design customized and artistic correspondence like wedding invitations and programmes, all through the connections offered by ProFinder.
While the full launch was fairly recent, a pilot ProFinder service was tested since October of the year before, with over 50,000 freelancers for clients to choose from. Now the official launch brings to bear the might of 450 million professionals, ProFinder is set to change the landscape of the gig economy.
One of ProFinder’s biggest draws is that, other than the monetary option to upgrade to a $60-monthly “Business Plus” plan in order to post an unlimited number of job proposals, (the default limit is 10) the freelance platform does not get a take from any money payment exchanged between clients and gig professionals, as the payment services are off the ProFinder platform.
LinkedIn stressed in its launch announcement that in light of the growing gig economy, they want to provide the same type of value for these independent workers as those in more traditional “9 to 5” professions.
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