PwC Gets Into The Gig Economy

PricewaterhouseCoopers is making a move on the rapidly expanding “gig” economy with a marketplace that matches freelancers with internal corporate projects.

The largest assurance and advisory firm by revenue, PwC is leveraging its powerful market position into what it is calling the “Talent Exchange.” The idea is to connect independent professionals — IT workers, product life-cycle managers, anti-money laundering experts — with client firm projects.

PwC has the ability to “bring in the right talent, in the right place, at the right time,” according Bob Moritz, the firm’s new global chairman.

“We know when you look around the world, that an increasing number of people will want to be more of an independent contractor than a full-time employee,” he told Financial Times. “So, the question is: How do I quickly scale up my own technology and recruitment processes to change, so I can bring third-party independent contractors to the table, as opposed to full-time hires?”

Over a third of U.S. workers are freelancing these days, according to a study last year by Upwork and Freelancers Union. The study further found that almost two-thirds of those workers were freelancing by choice, not necessity, an increase of 7 percentage points from 2014.

“What we may do today may not be the mix tomorrow and may be different five years from now,” said Moritz. “The challenge for PwC — and, I’d argue, any professional services firm — is how you get more agility in the place to be able to scale up and scale down, whatever the opportunities are.”

Moritz currently holds the post of chairman and senior partner of PwC’s U.S. firm, but, in July, he will succeed Dennis Nally, a two-term chairman who oversaw a period of rapid growth, including the 2014 acquisition of Booz & Co. Nally’s retirement will mark the end of a 42-year employment term with PwC, which, these days, is in 157 countries, with over 208,000 employed.