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In December 2022, LinkedIn released news highlighting the increasing prevalence of contracting roles in technology companies, with 19.5% of all paid tech listings on LinkedIn being for contractor positions, up more than three times from 5.7% in January 2021.

This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including but not limited to the rise of remote employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, increased flexibility by Web3-native workplaces, and even cross-border national and state-level employment rules, to name a few. 

This enhanced insight into the future of employment, particularly when it comes to Web3, offers an interesting use case on how employers and employees will work together in the future.

Current trends like China’s “lying-flat” ( ??) movement and the rise of the eponymous “quiet-quitting” trend have taken employers by storm, contradicting efforts by both the Chinese government and American employers to return to previous working relationships after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, these trends highlight a distinct desire for reduced reliance on corporate identities that require very staunch employer-employee relationships, something that companies and startups alike have begun to explore as change agents themselves. 

Employer-employee agreements have changed in recent history, with trends in the few years throughout the world highlighting the need to evolve from a simple “I am an employer and you are my employee” relationship that many have been accustomed to in past decades. 

In China, the “lying-flat” ( ??) movement began trending in early 2021, with individuals participating in this movement adopting a more laissez-faire approach to employment, in contrast to societal pressures to overwork, as represented by China’s 996 work culture, where employees are expected to work from 9 am to 9 pm, 6 days a week.

A predominately Western-based perspective adjacent to “lying-flat” began taking the Internet by storm in mid-2022, with individuals subscribing to “quiet-quitting” simply doing their job, but not going above and beyond for their employers. 

Changing Employment Narratives via Web3

Web3’s decentralized emphasis will undoubtedly place an even greater change on the typical employer-employee dynamic.

Concepts like decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), new takes on profit-sharing arrangements, and other forms of rewarding employees for work will result in further changes away from the traditional employer-employee dynamic. 

DAOs are unique because of their organizational structure as entities that are collectively-governed organizations with no centralized form of leadership.

In this format, members are able to earn tokens based on their contributions to the DAO, with individuals working as much or as little to achieve increasing benefits such as improved status, additional rewards, and/or more.

Web3-based profit-sharing arrangements such as DAOs are just one way of rewarding individuals beyond the traditional employer-employee relationship, with another example being Bitcoin mining, with miners receiving rewards for essentially growing the Bitcoin ecosystem.

While some may argue that decentralized work arrangements common to Web3 are ineffective and can result in drastic entity collapses such as in the case of the FTX meltdown, the collective buy-in from individuals on a global scale to participate in the ever-growing Web3 ecosystem, as represented by cryptocurrency users, highlights that such examples are simply the minority.

These types of “growing pains” will nevertheless continue, particularly as governments and individuals alike continue to learn about and grow participation in Web3, forever changing the traditional employer-employee relationship. 

Changing Identities in the Decentralized Workplace

Cultural perspectives towards work have also changed in recent history. In previous years, reliance on having a specific corporate entity tied to one’s individual identity, as exemplified in Japan’s infamous salaryman culture, was highlighted as particularly important for individuals in terms of salary, compensation, and status.

However, Web3 removes some of these consolidated barriers to entry for individuals, with automated protocols and decentralized tools being among some of the functions replacing traditional brick-and-mortar institutions for rewarding individuals for work.

This reduction in corporate reliance can even be seen in something as simple as employment histories, with some individuals working just months on a Web3 project, while others work on multiple projects simultaneously.

The need for one employer to establish social credibility and work history is changing alongside individuals’ need to find validation via their employer in society. 

Identifying Alternative Models of Employment

New methods of employment are also on the horizon in terms of changing the employer-employee dynamic in the Web3 world.

The tech field itself brought such change to popular attention due to the divide between contract work and full-time employment (FTE), with differences in wages, benefits, and paid time off being among some of the differences between contractors and FTEs.

Additionally, the tech field has also popularized a project-based approach to employment, with workers being employed primarily by a scope of work established by a parent company.

This project-based employment approach differs from contracting because of its more limited engagement period, and also distinguishes itself from traditional general management consulting engagements because of its more niche and specific application. 

Large tech companies and startups alike are seeing the growth potential of project-based employment, with programs like Accenture Flex offering short-termed project durations for contract workers, with many of these roles facing Web3-adjacent fields.

Additionally, some startups are putting their own spin on this niche industry, with one example being a subscription-based marketplace platform for talent operators, executive strategists, and career coaches.

“We’re interested in changing the way people view work and how people are rewarded for their time,” says stealth startup founder and CEO John Dio, an expert in human resource management and recruiting.

“We’re also currently seeing individuals seeking out opportunities that work with their schedule, particularly in Web3. We’d like to ensure that we play a part in facilitating that connection between companies and people.”


All in all, the changing nature of how employer-employee relationships work will change the nature of employment in the future.

Web3 offers an interesting alternative to a traditional conglomerate hiring and retaining individuals for specific tasks and their time, with current workplace trends running antithesis to what some might call an “outdated” model of employment.

It will be interesting to see how the concept of employment changes further in the future, with Web3 accelerating alternative transitions to how individuals view work, and employers needing to be flexible and agile to new definitions of work.

This article was originally published by Hugh Harsono on Hackernoon.


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