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Press Release

May 24, 2018 08:00 UTC

For Up to 1.5 Million Experts in the Little-Known Expert Economy, Sharing Wisdom Is the Next Great Gig

LONDON--(Business Wire)--According to a groundbreaking new report from Civic, a bipartisan ideas company, professional learning platforms connect up to 1.5 million experts to companies in need of their knowledge or expertise – nearly as many experts as Uber and Lyft have active U.S. drivers. Written by Civic CEO and longtime senior White House adviser Bruce Reed and research associate Matthew Atwell, “The Rise of the Expert Economy: Could Sharing Wisdom Be the Next Gig?” is the first comprehensive study of the expert industry. The report is being released in conjunction with today’s Chatham House Future of Work 2018 conference in London.

“The Rise of the Expert Economy” offers several surprising discoveries:

  • Unlike the conventional gig economy, which pays people little to do tasks others don't want to do, the expert economy pays people well (up to $1,000/hr.) for what they know and do best.
  • The expert economy includes about as many experts (1.5 million) as Uber and Lyft have active U.S. drivers.
  • GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group), the oldest and largest platform, controls half the world market, with $500M+ revenues in 2017. Two other firms, AlphaSights and Third Bridge, routinely make the Financial Times list of fastest-growing companies in Europe.
  • GE and PricewaterhouseCoopers have set up their own expert networks to tap expertise inside and outside their own companies.
  • In time, professional learning networks could disrupt the $250 billion management consulting business or even the institution of business school.
  • The gig economy has given us apps to monetize our homes, our cars, even our bicycles. The expert economy creates a marketplace for the knowledge, lessons, and wisdom we've learned.

The numbers the report reveals are substantial and growing fast (although experts don’t work as often as drivers, and in both sectors there may be some overlap if drivers or experts work for more than one firm). “The gig economy lets us sell our time and our physical labor. Yet for the most part, getting paid to share expertise has been largely the province of consultants, get-rich-quick seminars, and the professional class – while tech companies make billions sharing what they know about us,” Reed and Atwell write. “What if we could share our expertise for a living?”

The expert economy is based on the principle that anyone can be an expert if they know their stuff. As Reed and Atwell conclude, “For some, it’s a living; for most, it’s a good gig. But getting paid to share life’s lessons is a bonus. The real prize is realizing that the work it took to learn those lessons still matters, and the life lived has been a worthy gig, too.”

Reed is a domestic policy expert and longtime senior White House adviser who served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden and Chief Domestic Policy Adviser to President Bill Clinton. He is Co-Founder and CEO of Civic, Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative, and a member of the Aspen Institute Economic Strategy Group. Atwell conducts statistical and data analysis and background research and has co-authored numerous nationally syndicated Civic reports, including Building a Grad Nation and Hidden in Plain Sight. This report was made possible with support from Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG). The authors had complete editorial control over its content.

To read the full report, visit:

About Civic

Civic is a public policy and strategy firm that helps nonprofits, foundations, universities, corporations, and governments develop and spearhead innovative public policies to strengthen our communities and country. Created to enlist the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to help address our nation’s toughest problems, Civic fashions new initiatives and strategies that achieve measurable results in the fields of education, civic engagement, economic mobility, and many other domestic policy issues. For more information, visit:

Fallon Bridgeland, 202-898-0310

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