The Age of Fluidity
The “gig economy” is a concept that has gained widespread recognition and is no longer a mere buzzword. This is due to freelancing and gigging rapidly gaining popularity especially among youth with marketable skills. For the uninitiated, the gig economy is a flourishing free-market system in which talents are increasingly able to sustain and prosper as independent contractors for single or multiple clients instead of as full-time hires in just one organisation. According to Peter Miscovich, Managing Director of JLL Consulting, New York, by 2020, giggers will comprise half the workforce and as much as 80% by 2030.
The gig economy is a direct outcome of the ongoing digital disruption era that emphasises velocity, agility and scalable systems that have affected our daily lives and ultimately the global economy. Platforms like AirBnB, Uber, Grab, FoodPanda, Fiverr and Upwork have paved the way. With increasingly difficult times ahead in the global economy (Trump vs China, Brexit and Covid-19 being obvious examples), expect more fluidity rather than less. To thrive in this fluidity, giggers and employers must be agile and strategic to leverage on the increased flexibility in exchange for a manageable degree of instability.
Taking Personal Control
The most important aspect of the gig economy is the ability for talent to take control of their destinies. The age of single-company employees who retire with a golden handshake has been archived as a quaint part of history. Next-Gen Talents are readily taking control of their career based on a few key strategies.
Firstly, the very definition of gig economy means that talents develop their career based on multiple projects that run concurrently or sequentially with multiple employers, instead of full-time jobs with one employer at a time. This gives them the flexibility to determine their own job scope, fees and schedule compared to their fix-employed peers.
Secondly, they are able to decide what skillsets to develop and offer to employers, irrespective of any formal training they had received earlier. The likes of Udemy, General Assembly and YouTube have empowered self-learning at an unprecedented level. Online portfolios and peer validation provided by LinkedIn, for example, goes a long way to reduce the credibility gap among employers when assessing giggers.
Thirdly, they are able to decide where and when to work, facilitated by gig platforms as mentioned earlier. Remote working is now common among many organisations including for full-time hires and more so for giggers. Again, the advancement of broadband technology which makes video-conferencing, document sharing and work collaboration much easier compared to a mere five years ago is a big contributing factor.
Upside for Employers
The gig economy provides employers with the opportunity to optimise their talent pool and of course, operating cost. Employers can now maintain leaner full-time teams based on the availability of skilled giggers that can undertake specific tasks at specific times and at specific costs when, and only when, needed. By having on-demand giggers, employers can build a more productive workforce with a performance-focused culture.
In addition, employers (mostly Boomers or Gen-Xers) should be taking advantage of traits shared by Next-Gen Talent that they may well have missed. Having grown-up in this age of disruption and multiple crisis, Next-Gen Talents are the most comfortable with fluidity and uncertainty compared to earlier generations. This has resulted in a level of independence, creativity and realism that employers can only benefit from, if they are willing to similarly embrace such fluidity.
Employers cannot afford to delay any further in their efforts to incorporate the gig economy into their business strategies. There are enough examples of the demise of global companies, let alone smaller entities, out of sheer stubbornness and inertia. On the flip side, the gig economy is proving to be a compelling option for giggers as a viable mid-way between full-time employment versus entrepreneurship. Therefore, to thrive amidst the flux, employers and Next-Gen Talent must work in partnership together, just not all the time, every time.
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Qwork is a platform for reliable gig workers across industries such as Transportation, Education, Manufacturing, Logistics, Retail, and Services. Qwork addresses one of the biggest problems facing companies today, which is staff turnover.
Briggs, Laura. The Future is Freelancing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGY8vO3KRTk
Milenkovic, Milja. The Future of Employment. https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/gig-economy-statistics/#gref
Novoseltseva, Ekatarina. Gig Economy: Statistics, Facts & Main Players. https://apiumhub.com/tech-blog-barcelona/gig-economy/