In our recent webinar, we discussed some of the many factors impacting talent mobility today.  

  • A strong U.S. and global economy
  • Really low unemployment & job openings at record high
  • The "quits rate" at a 17-year high
  • Big demographic shifts
  • The challenge of relocating dual-income families
  • The tax reform and its impact on mobility programs
  • Locations with high housing costs
  • The trend of hand-raisers and freelance workers

This last factor can be attributed to the fact that work today can be performed anywhere and the idea that employees desire more flexible work arrangements. One of the final questions in that webinar came from someone wondering how the emerging rise of gig workers will impact talent mobility? 

Hand-raisers and freelance workers, aka gig workers, are definitely a growing force. According to a recent survey from Upwork, a giant freelance platform, currently 36% of the workforce has freelanced this year, with almost 30% that said that was their primary source of income…and the predictions are that more than half of U.S. workers will be freelancing by 2027. There are currently a variety of opinions on how this trend is impacting companies and their talent mobility programs. From changes like where we live, to the way we get paid, no matter what the impact is, it’s clear that policy design will need to address this ever-expanding and diverse group within the workforce.

In an article by Elisabeth Buchwald in MarketWatch, she reports that other estimates say the gig economy is even larger than that. The Federal Reserve has a broad definition of people working in the gig economy. The Fed says gig workers could be anyone from a babysitter to an Uber driver. According to that definition, there are as many as 75 million gig workers.

Then per Deloitte's 2018 Global Human Capital Trends:

"When asked to forecast the makeup of their workforce in 2020, 37 percent of survey respondents expected a rise in contractors, 33 percent foresaw an increase in freelancers, and 28 percent expected growth in gig workers. Organizations are finding ways to align their culture and management practices with these external talent segments—engaging the workforce ecosystem for mutual benefit."

So, as this gig economy grows, many cities have been considering how to lure "giggers" to live and work in their community. This article in realtor.com talks about how Tulsa, OK and other locations in the U.S. like Maine and Vermont have set forth on campaigns specifically to attract gig workers.

Gina Grover, consulting services specialist here at Plus keyed us into the unique program Tulsa, OK is working on. Tulsa is offering $10,000 in the form of $2,500 to be put towards relocation expenses, a $500 per month stipend, and $1,500 at the end of a 12-month program. They are also offering a free membership to a co-working space in the city.

In other coverage on this article, The Hustle commented that: "Remote workers often make the same salary no matter where they work, but a Tulsa dollar isn’t a San Francisco dollar: according to Trulia, the median cost of rent in Tulsa is $950 -- in San Francisco, it’s $4,450."

The Tulsa Remote program comes as flexible work is on the rise. The number of people quitting their jobs for flexible work doubled from 2014 to 2017 and the number of remote jobs rose 115% between 2005 and 2018, according to FlexJobs.