New Data Reveals In-Demand Talent Seeking Professional Control Amid Tight Labor Market, Great Resignation

(Feb. 10, 2022) A new report from Business Talent Group (BTG)—the leading talent platform for independent management consultants, subject matter experts, project managers, and interim executives, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Heidrick & Struggles (Nasdaq: HSII)—reveals the results of the most comprehensive study of workers at the top end of the on-demand talent economy.

BTG’s 2022 Talent Lens—based on a survey of more than 1,900 high-end independent talent—provides deep insights about the mindset of highly skilled independent professionals as companies increasingly rely on them for fast, flexible expertise and capacity to fuel growth and capture fast-moving opportunities. Amid widespread labor shortages and the Great Resignation, the independent talent segment is growing quickly—increasing 34 percent year over year in the U.S.—a trend that’s expected to continue, with 56% of non-freelancing professionals saying they’re likely to freelance in the future.

“Top talent—including talent that you can’t find anywhere else—are flocking to the independent market for professional control: They want to choose whom they work with and what they work on,” said BTG Co-Founder and Co-CEO Jody Greenstone Miller. “As business leaders feel the pinch of the tightening labor supply, they increasingly see the benefits of harnessing innovative talent solutions and tapping into the growing independent talent economy for proven skills and capabilities that are invaluable to companies of all sizes.”

Among other findings, BTG’s report highlights the primary reasons that top talent choose to go independent and the factors that most greatly influence their client and project selections.

Key insights from the 2022 Talent Lens include:

  • Overwhelmingly, talent seek professional control, flexibility, and variety:
    According to respondents, the top reasons to go independent include picking their own projects (70%), the freedom to work from anywhere (63%), and the variety of work available in the independent market (62%).

  • Talent satisfaction has rebounded:
    After a dip in satisfaction during the height of the pandemic, an overwhelming majority of talent (83%) now say they are satisfied with full-time independence—besting pre-pandemic satisfaction levels.

  • Two factors influence project selection more than any other:
    With the most in-demand talent weighing multiple opportunities simultaneously, 78% indicate that the type of work drives project selection, and 63% say the daily rate was a leading factor in their choice of engagements.

  • Rates are on the rise:
    Nearly four in ten talent (39%) reported higher daily rates in 2021, and 35% of independent talent enjoyed an increase in total compensation compared to 2020. Overall, the self-reported median daily rate for the high-end independent talent surveyed was $1,200 in 2021.

  • Most have no intention of going back to traditional roles:
    Less than half (43%) of independent talent say they would consider returning to the traditional workforce, and the odds decrease even further for elite, tenured independents. Among respondents with four or more years of independent experience beyond their successful traditional careers, 61% say they are unlikely to return to permanent employment in the next 12 months.

To see the complete findings of BTG’s research—including the most common project types and clients served, what it takes to lure top independents into traditional permanent roles, and the key benefits companies realize by using independent talent—access the full 2022 Talent Lens report at

About BTG

Business Talent Group (BTG) is the leading talent platform that connects independent management consultants, subject matter experts, project managers, and interim executives with the world’s best companies. BTG provides just the right on-demand talent needed: remote or on-site, part-time or full-time, individuals or teams, all around the world. That’s why more than 50% of the F100 and hundreds of other leading companies trust BTG to curate, vet, and compliantly deliver talent who fuel growth, innovation, and performance improvement. BTG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Heidrick & Struggles (Nasdaq: HSII).

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