- LinkedIn’s new Services Marketplace platform gives users the ability to find and hire freelancers.
- The Microsoft-owned company has not revealed any pricing for this new service; however, it is highly likely this will provide LinkedIn with a robust new revenue stream.
- LinkedIn’s entrance to the crowded gig marketplace puts it in direct competition with other large public freelancer-based company platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
LinkedIn is hoping to capitalize on remote work by developing a service for freelancers to find jobs.
Called the Services Marketplace, the new platform will enable its estimated 770+ million users and businesses to find, hire, and pay freelancers. This platform will compete with publicly traded firms such as Upwork and Fiverr.
LinkedIn’s new career-focused platform intends to tap into a small but growing market for websites that connect primarily white-collar professionals – such as app developers, accountants, software designers, and marketing specialists – with businesses or individuals who want their services.
A formally publicly traded company, LinkedIn was purchased by Microsoft in 2017 for $26.2 billion in an all-cash transaction ($196 per share), but Microsoft has maintained a mostly hands-off approach.
How will the Services Marketplace differ from Fiverr and Upwork?
This platform looks very similar to the marketplace on Fiverr, but there is a large differentiator; Fiverr does not offer software development at this time.
LinkedIn also stated that they will be focused on executive coaching on the new platform.
The Marketplace has similar features of both its competitors (Fiverr and Upwork), but with a spin: Businesses can both seek out freelancers, compare rates, and share posts for freelancers to respond to. Post-project, businesses can leave reviews about individual freelancers.
It’s unclear yet how much LinkedIn will charge for commissions – if at all. Fiverr takes 20% off each transaction once a job is complete, and Upwork has service fees varying from 5%-20%.
In August, LinkedIn quietly launched LinkedIn Service Pages, which appeared to be a preview of their new marketplace platform. With Pages, you are able to create your own service page now and have it imported directly into the Marketplace.
LinkedIn has a role in the gig economy
The pandemic has made the world experience some of the most disruptive labor market changes in recent history, but the gig economy has been flourishing.
Roughly 91% of employers say they will need to rely on external workers to get critical tasks done within their firms in the next three years.
With more than 260 million monthly active users, it makes sense for LinkedIn members to have the ability to advertise their skills or to get in touch with freelancers, especially when the gig economy is on the rise due to the ongoing pandemic.
LinkedIn might have a chance to become a leader in the gig economy due to its already massive user base.
When and why is LinkedIn launching the Services Marketplace?
LinkedIn quietly launched the Services Marketplace in September. LinkedIn’s Services Marketplace is accessed from a grid button that opens “more LinkedIn services” on the site’s navigation bar. The feature showcases LinkedIn members who provide freelance services, and who have indicated on their profiles that they’re “open for business.”
The platform hosts hundreds of thousands of service providers under every category because it’s an extension and re-branding of a pre-existing platform, LinkedIn ProFinder.
LinkedIn saw the need for a new freelancer platform. Annually, 59 million Americans take on freelance projects, making up 36% of the workforce.
LinkedIn spokeswoman Suzi Owens said the number of LinkedIn users who added “open for business” to their profiles saw a massive uptick when the pandemic began.
What will be the Services Marketplace’s impact on the future of freelance work?
Upwork and the Freelancers Union suggested that most U.S. workers will be freelance by 2027, but that timeline was potentially accelerated by the pandemic.
Together, Upwork and Fiverr generated nearly $550 million in revenue in 2020 – a 37% increase from the year before.
LinkedIn generated $181 billion in revenue in 2020, according to inbound marketing company HubSpot.
It’s no wonder that LinkedIn is hoping to capitalize on this industry.
“In the future we’ll be building new ways to share more about the services you could offer directly through your LinkedIn profile,” Owens said.
Microsoft is considering taking a cut of the transactions from the Services Marketplace as well as charging freelancers to post their own ads, but this hasn’t been implemented yet.
LinkedIn users enjoy a wide range of free networking and job search services. It is unclear how this new marketplace may impact this feature.
For example, will this make it more difficult for independent professionals to advertise their services for free – or for companies to acquire talent without having to pay a fee to LinkedIn?
Currently, the Marketplace’s most popular services include:
- Accounting (174,540 providers)
- Coaching and Mentoring (495,736 providers)
- Consulting (1,031,462 providers)
- Design (517,902 providers)
- Events (156,209 providers)
- Finance (205,683 providers)
- Home Improvement (109,816 providers)
- Information Technology (183,346 providers)
- Insurance (72,841 providers)
- Law (101,036 providers)
- Marketing (685,592 providers)
- Operations (566,593 providers)
- Photography (163,472 providers)
- Real Estate (167,889 providers)
- Software Development (348,936 providers)
- Writing (333,237 providers)
The Services Marketplace is the latest in a series of efforts by big tech companies to tap into the growing market for connecting freelancers with jobs.
In December, Facebook announced it was planning to enter the gig economy platform business by letting its users find and book services through its app. The move – which has yet to come to fruition – could have positioned the social media giant as a competitor to gig economy marketplaces, but it seems LinkedIn might have beaten it to the punch.