LinkedIn enters the freelancer service marketplace: the implications


LinkedIn has today entered the service marketplace business. This is substantial news in the rapidly evolving work landscape.

Now anyone can use LinkedIn’s ‘Open to Work’ feature at the top of their profile to indicate availability to provide services, either local or remote, across 250 pre-defined categories (shortly expanding to 500), with for now no fees (or direct invoicing) for freelancers or clients. LinkedIn’s intention is to develop the feature substantially.

The rise of remote work and online marketplaces is transforming organizations and talent. I first wrote about Elance, the first online work marketplace, in 2002, and surveyed the landscape in detail in my book Getting Results With Crowds.

Now major platforms such as Upwork and have been complemented by literally hundreds of others, notably a raft of expert services platforms. An excellent Harvard Business School report Building the On-demand Workforce describes how a majority of corporations are now using these marketplaces for external talent, often extensively.

LinkedIn’s move is significant in a number of ways, notably because it has better reputation and credibility measures than any other platform, as they not contained to work on a single market, but across all of a person’s career and relationships. For example, if you are interviewing someone for work, knowing people in common is a tremendous asset.

A recent survey suggested that 10 million Americans are considering becoming freelancers amid the post-pandemic return to work and ‘The Great Resignation’. This new option could make it easier to take that step.

The broad secular shift in work is towards greater fluidity, making it easier for talent to be applied wherever and whenever it can create the most value. LinkedIn’s move is one further step in talent and work becoming more fluid.