The other day my team was trying to find images for the launch of our new website and we were falling short. It’s easy to find images online that are free and good enough. It’s much harder to find higher quality images that are amazing and inspire and leave viewers feeling exactly the way you want your brand to leave them feeling.
So I got with my head of content strategy and we did what all companies today need to do in order to find the best talent. We tapped the gig economy. (Check out the images the photo editor we found sourced for us after just one round by going to our website.)
Twenty to 30% of today’s workers take part in the gig economy, a term used for freelancers who earn money through temporary contract work, instead of through a structured payroll position. This number is expected to grow to 40% by 2020.
The gig economy consists of two main categories—those who earn their primary income from gigging, and those who have jobs elsewhere and are supplementing their income as gig-economy moonlighters. Those that gig full time break out into two subsets. Some are there by choice and some are there out of necessity. The photo editor we found gigs 100% of the time by choice after working for years as a full-time salaried employee for magazines.
The moonlighter group also breaks out into two subsets. Those who are choosing to casually supplement their income by gigging, and those who are gigging out of necessity because they are financially strapped.
No surprise, the people who take part in the gig economy by choice, like the photo editor we worked with, experience higher work satisfaction than people with traditional jobs. The independence and flexibility of gig working is attracting people who hold traditional jobs.
When you tap into the gig economy, you can find talented people who’ve grown tired of a traditional work structure and are good enough to support themselves as they strike out on their own. But you can also find these moonlighters. Often, the moonlighters hold top-tier positions within a company and gig to stay fresh. Some of the most well-known tech companies, for example, encourage their employees to remain practiced and nimble by taking part in competitions hosted on these on-demand talent networks.
These trends are good news for companies who want to tap the best talent available. As more workers opt in to the gig economy, that’s where the best talent will be found. And if you’re not tapping it, you’re missing out.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Forbes.