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Don Goldberg: Facilitating the gig economy

For generations, the working class of America looked forward to that time at retirement when they’d get the proverbial gold watch—the symbol that their employer had recognized them for years of servitude to the company. But that began to change in the 1970s, when the concept of employee mobility became part of the discussion. Gold watches aren’t a thing anymore.

By the time Don Goldberg began his career in 1980, he saw the future of staffing, and the value of companies utilizing technology to attract and recruit employees. His work at an IT executive search firm in his native Boston, coupled with a ski trip he and his wife enjoyed in Utah, brought Goldberg to the Wasatch Front, where he founded ConsultNet.

“We specialize in solving the biggest challenge in the technology field today—locating and attracting highly qualified technical personnel,” he says. “We’re pretty much the agent for one sector of the gig economy, the environment where temporary positions are common and companies contract with independent workers for short-term assignments. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary in business, and it’s been quite a ride.”

And a successful one. In the past two years, ConsultNet has placed over 1,500 consultants with more than 300 companies. The firm works with employers in 35 states and has four offices around the country, though it’s based in Salt Lake City. The company has two teams—account executives and recruiters. There are 83 employees in-house and 450 in the field.

“That ski trip helped us fall in love with Utah,” says Goldbert. “Our son was 3-1/2 years old when we moved here, and he thanks us every year for being here. There’s so much to do, and we knew this was the perfect location to get to and from different places around the country.”

Goldberg says ConsultNet is the marketer for an increasingly common type of employee—someone looking for temporary work in the technology field.

“It’s hard to find jobs, especially when you have a job,” he says. “Finding a job is a full-time job in and of itself. The people who come to us to be consultants don’t always know where or how to look for an opportunity. We’ve really honed our technical expertise to find the right job for those looking for short-term assignments.”

He says a growing number of professionals prefer the flexibility of short-term assignments.

“Some find jobs where they can work for nine months for a year’s worth of pay,” he says. “Others have large families with obligations that require they get a fairly immediate placement. These are professionals who can go across the different verticals because of their expertise, and that expertise is a lot more advanced than typical.”

ConsultNet acts as a filter—for both their consultants (those who they place in jobs) and their clients. The company makes sure it’s a perfect fit for both parties.

This move to employment mobility is also good news for older professionals—those who’ve retired but still want to work or those who have been displaced.

“Many legacy companies are hiring people who are 65 or 70 because of their great experience,” Goldberg says. “There’s nothing more valuable than experience. These consultants can help mentor younger employees as well. When an employee can select a job they’re interested in, it’s very empowering for all involved. We facilitate that.”