The gig economy, defined as short-term on-demand employment, is growing at rapid speed. But not all workers in the gig economy are created equal; they vary in age, experience, and skill set. The large supply of freelance workers fuels a virtual buyer’s market for employers seeking top talent from all over the world.
Toptal is one platform that operates in the virtual talent market. The company was founded in 2010, and provides a network of freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, and project managers available for on-demand hire at startups and established companies. But there’s a clear distinction between the gig economy and the “talent economy,” Toptal CEO Taso Du Val tells Susie Gharib of Fortune.
“The gig economy is temporary work that’s low-skilled labor [whereas the talent economy] is about long-term work and high-skilled labor,” says Du Val.
So, how can companies distinguish top talent in a sea of remote workers? Of the thousands of applications Toptal receives each month from individuals wanting to be listed on its platform; typically fewer than 3% are accepted based on a screening process that evaluates a candidate’s language competency, technical knowledge, and test projects.
Existing tools such as Slack and Zoom are making remote work more possible and practical, and large companies are adopting these technologies to interact with a global workforce.
Remote work is also giving rise to startup companies that are totally digital. “GitLab, a company that was recently acquired, is approaching 1,000 full-time employees, and 100% of them are remote. Automatic, the virtual company that owns WordPress, has approximately 800 full-time employees working remotely,” says Du Val.
The gig economy is massive, with promising opportunities for top talent and the innovative companies that hire them.