New Research Shows Fortune 1000 Companies Increasingly Tapping Gig Economy Consultants to Fuel Growth and Innovation

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The Independent Consulting Economy

The organizations that embrace this change have already enjoyed real benefits, from a more flexible, agile workforce with faster access to industry experts to reduced consulting spend.


Fortune 1000 companies are increasingly turning to freelance consultants to help with top strategic and operational priorities. Now, new research shows that they’re moving away from traditional consulting's heavy reliance on “smart generalists,” choosing instead to hire “subject matter experts” with practical experience and expertise in distinct industry and functional niches. This according to proprietary research from Business Talent Group (BTG)—the leading provider of independent consultants and executives for project-based work—based on an analysis of significant client projects conducted in 2017.

Currently, 162 million people engage in freelance work, and 51% of companies say they plan to increase their use of freelancers over the next 3-5 years. BTG’s analysis found that Fortune 1000 companies sought the help of independent consultants and experts on projects ranging from market evaluations to supply chain optimization, big data to eCommerce, and more. Specifically, BTG’s analysis found that enterprises seek expertise in the following areas:

  • Market opportunity and growth (22%)
  • Strategy and planning (21%)
  • Project and program management (18%)
  • Product, portfolio, and innovation (8%)
  • Transformations (8%)
  • Other (23%)

BTG’s research provides an up-to-the-minute snapshot into how top enterprise clients are relying on independent “gig economy” workers for specific skills and capabilities, representing a seismic shift away from legacy consulting models. The research shows that across all industries, the greatest needs were for strategic and project leadership in highly specialized niches like distribution channel strategies, disruptive innovation, and market access.

Jody Greenstone Miller, BTG co-founder and CEO, said: “Business Talent Group has a unique perspective into the needs of top global businesses and how independent talent can help solve them. We're excited to see so much cross-industry innovation in the selection and deployment of independent consultants and executives on these mission-critical projects.”

She continued, “Whether you call it freelancing, the gig economy, the human cloud or on-demand talent, the way business works in the future will look vastly different than it does today. The organizations that embrace this change have already enjoyed real benefits, from a more flexible, agile workforce with faster access to industry experts to reduced consulting spend.”

Trends by Industry—a Deeper Dive

The BTG report is based on an analysis of 12 months of completed projects requested by BTG's Fortune 1000 clients, averaging more than $100,000 per engagement. The insights revealed key differences in how companies from various sectors prioritize the challenges and opportunities they face—and how they're using freelance consultants to meet those needs:

  • Life science companies focused on project integration and market sizing opportunities, tapping expertise in specific therapeutic areas and niches such as market access and data analytics.
  • Financial services firms focused on a broad array of priorities, including marketing, sales, and IT strategies, as well as in-depth analyses of go-to-market opportunities.
  • Technology companies looked for the next billion-dollar business, seeking cost-effective opportunity assessments and expertise in areas like sales and pricing.
  • Retail companies looked for new ways to reach customers in a cluttered, competitive landscape, focusing on priorities from supply chain to the customer journey and B2C marketing.
  • Industrial companies looked for ways to pull ahead of slow-growth and turbulent markets, combining independent consultants' cutting-edge skills with hands-on experience to optimize margins and complete critical transformations.
  • CPG companies sought to find and evaluate new growth avenues, optimize pricing and supply chain, and develop brand strategies—all within a lean operational model.

To learn more about the top projects and skillsets requested by companies in each sector, view the full infographic from BTG.

A Growing Independent Economy

Ninety four percent of new jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were in “alternative work categories,” and 40% of today’s total global workforce is comprised of non-employee talent. Other research has found that 61 percent of employers plan to replace up to 30 percent of their permanent positions with independents in an effort to become more agile.

BTG stands out within this rapidly expanding freelance economy. The company has been designated a workplace innovator by Fast Company, and Clay Christensen cited BTG as a disruptor of the traditional consulting industry in the Harvard Business Review. According to Forbes Magazine, “BTG is trusted by business unit leaders, general managers, and executives from more than 36% of the Fortune 100 and beyond to scope, select and oversee independent talent on significant projects that fuel growth, innovation and performance improvement.”

About Business Talent Group

Business Talent Group (BTG) is the leading provider of on-demand business talent—curated, vetted and delivered for your project needs. BTG enables companies to work smarter, faster, and more flexibly by accessing a curated network of thousands of the world’s best independent business professionals.

From ecommerce to supply chain, big data to market expansion, BTG delivers additional insights and innovative thinking, skills and expertise, experience, or sheer capacity for leading organizations. On every project, BTG provides just the right on-demand talent needed—individuals or small teams, onsite or remote, domestic or global—to tackle clients' business challenges and accelerate growth.

Founded in 2007, BTG is a pioneer in the high-end on-demand consulting market. A premier partner for major corporations, BTG is trusted by 37% of the F100 and beyond; F1000 companies, PE firms, and nonprofits in 34 countries around the world.

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Maria Burns

Maria Burns

Maria is a Viral News Editor who graduated from the University Of California. She likes social media trends, being semi-healthy, Buffalo Wild Wings and vodka with lime. When she isn’t writing, Maria loves to travel. She last went to Thailand to play with elephants and is planning a trip to Bali.
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