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Will full-time work be ancient history?’s CEO thinks so

On the right, Matt Barrie wears a black suit jacket with a white shirt underneath. He stands in front of some neon blue shapes against a black background. He is staring at the camera. On the left, a girl sits at her desk working from home. She is in front of a computer, wearing a grey beanie and a white top. The apartment she is in is light-filled and there is a big window.
Freelancing is the way of the future. Source: Getty

Matt Barrie,’s CEO and founder, will speak about the future of work at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit on the 26th September 2019 in the Shangri-La, Sydney. Check out the full line-up of speakers and agenda for this groundbreaking event here.

If there’s one person who can predict the future of work, it’s Matt Barrie.

Barrie, who founded the world’s largest marketplace of freelance professionals,, knows that one-job careers are a thing of the past, with a trend towards multiple stints picking up steam.

“I'm a member of Gen X. I think five to 10 years is how long you should stay in a business,” he said.


“Gen Y is about one to two years, and for the freelancers, you can go from employer to employer every two weeks.”

And there are a growing number of freelancers in the workforce, Barrie said, because businesses are understanding the benefits, and so are freelancers.

Is freelancing a viable career option?

Barrie believes freelancing, or ‘cloud labour’ as he refers to it, definitely works for businesses.

And, it makes sense, particularly for small businesses who can’t afford to spend $50,000 a year on a full-timer’s salary.

“Small businesses simply, by the very definition of a small business, don't have the resources now in order to hire someone full time for that.”

“Rather than paying for full time salary to someone, you can take them on a project-by-project basis, and you'd get the best talent you can possibly find for a particular niche and use money as you need to.”

But, does it make sense for the freelancer?

Barrie thinks it does.

“You're not stuck doing a job that you don't like. It really allows you to become an architect of your own career.”

It could even give those in regional Australia a leg up.

“Maybe you're from a regional area where the only jobs available for you are in a mine or in a factory or in a lumber mill,” Barrie said.

“Now you can access the whole universe of jobs out there, and you can be very, very niche.”

Businesses that adopt freelancers do better

The biggest development in business, Barrie says, is the speed at which companies are adopting cloud labour - and their success.

“By 2030, 50 per cent of the US workforce will be freelancers,” Barrie said.

And it’s not a surprising statistic when you look at the success of companies that have adopted freelancers, like Uber.

“See what happens with companies that do embrace freelancers, like Uber? How fast that's grown, and the scale and the change it's done at a global scale from adopting freelancers.”

Barrie said even NASA adopted freelancers to design underwater space walk training suits for astronauts, and robotic arms for robots on the space station. They even found an origami expert to find an efficient way to pack heat shielding for deep space missions.

“You're seeing work being crowdsourced by the US Department of Energy,” he said. “Things like turbine design and radiation leak detectors and so forth.”

“You've seen companies like Novo Nordisk trying to find solutions crowdsourced in healthcare space. You're seeing aero-electronics getting solutions, crowdsourced apps for electronic and electrical design work.”

Is Australia following in the same footsteps?

“Australia has its head in the sand in regards to innovation and capitalising on technology and software,” Barrie said.

“We are rapidly evolving into an emerging country.”

And, according to Barrie, parents and teachers are partly to blame.

“We really need to be embracing technology and putting the whole country on a mission on the level of the Apollo program,” Barrie said.

Join us for Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit, with speakers coming from across Australia and around the world to share their knowledge and experience on the most critical issues facing Australia.