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Oliver Hibbs-Brockway, CEO & Founder, NODAL Labs Ltd

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“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s an old saying and, sadly, one that sometimes still rings true.

That logic may have stacked up years ago in the dusty corridors and crowded bars of the legal and banking world, but as the shape of the workforce changes, we have to challenge the status quo and start again when it comes to networking, talent spotting, and hiring.

The Gig Economy

Much has been written about the growth of the freelance workforce in recent months.

The self-employed now make up 15% of the UK workforce, though this figure soars to 47% in creative industries, according to the Creative Industries Federation.

As this group continues to grow, employers are waking up to the importance of freelancers as part of their long-term hiring strategy, rather than short term ‘quick fixes’ on already overdue projects or ‘client emergency’.

It’s an important step in the right direction, but we’re talking about people, not percentages, and the system for connecting the right talent with the right companies is broken.

Showcasing Credentials and Skills

Freelancers rely on their ability to showcase their credentials and prove their skills. All too often, this means they are forced to spend hours chasing up past employers and go through lengthy reference processes to verify their working history.

Time spent on admin, applications, networking and promoting work is unpaid, and detracts from time – in the studio, from a creative perspective – to create and deliver work.

Freelance workers are already battling the harmful and endemic issue of late and sporadic payments. Asking them to then invest time in unpaid work simply to break through the wall to connect with a new employer and secure a role is madness.

Employers are pulled into the same time drain from the other side, directing energy into verifying skills which could be better spent on ensuring critical cultural fit between the business, the freelancer and the existing staff base.

Creating a Trust Economy

We built Nodal to overcome this problem, using the power of blockchain to build a world where employers and contractors can work together on an equal footing.

The platform uses this technology to create a trust economy when it comes to the way people work and interact with each other. This includes the way people are valued, paid, and the way their data is stored.

Work and skills are continuously validated and recorded each time an action is registered, creating a trust-building positive feedback loop.

This brings transparency and fairness to the relationship between employer and freelancer, and gives each party the opportunity to tap into a network far wider than their own.

Good news for the freelancer, who now has an opportunity to shine based on their skills, no matter the size of their personal network. And good news for employers, who have peace of mind that candidates have the experience they claim, and can deliver on the job at hand. What better indicator of trust, than the collective validation of your industry?

The current system is broken. In a distributed global workforce, trust simply has to be the first factor in recruitment, taking the guesswork out of skills verification and the ‘Little Black Book’ factor out of networking to ensure we can build the kind of teams that can change the world.

Oliver Hibbs-Brockway, Founder and CEO Nodal Labs

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