04/11/2017 Molly Moseley

The gig economy: How changing employment dynamics will affect you

You don’t have to be in HR to see the employment landscape is evolving in new and profound ways. What’s referred to as the “gig economy” is changing how companies hire and employees work. But is this movement gaining momentum or has it started to fizzle?

First, let’s chat about what exactly the gig economy is. At LinkUp we define the gig economy as a marketplace where short-term, on-demand employment is common for a workforce comprised of independent contractors (aka contingent workers, gigsters, or freelancers).

By 2020, 40 percent of U.S. workers will be freelancers, according to Intuit’s 2020 Report. In fact, right now a third of workers would think about leaving full-time employment to pursue work as an independent contractor, as per a ReportLinker survey. The autonomy, flexibility and appeal of work-life balance just can’t be ignored.

Technology is a main influencing factor in gig economy growth, as fewer workers will report to a brick-and-mortar office, relying instead on working in the cloud. Numerous companies have gone 100 percent remote, removing location barriers in order to hire top talent worldwide. One such company is Zapier, which offers employees up to $10,000 to move wherever they want.

The positives of the gig economy are plentiful. For businesses, it means the ability to get talent quickly and when it’s needed most. What’s more, that talent can come at a much lower cost than a traditional full-time hire. Essentially, it’s the fast-food version of employment, and for some industries — such as statistical analysis, graphic design, transportation and translation services — it’s a fantastic option.

However, despite the positives, there are drawbacks. One of the most notable is gig workers tend to be less committed to the company mission and culture. This isn’t surprising considering a “gig” is temporary, so a worker is only willing to invest so much time and energy beyond the actual work at hand. A weaker culture can have inherent long-term recruitment difficulties.

In researching the new LinkUp white paper “The Gig Economy: The Future or the Falsehood?” we found conflicting statistics about the size of the gig economy. This is likely because gig work is subject to increases and decreases based on demand. If you believe this movement is inflated or just a fad, it doesn’t matter. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon and will affect you at some point, if it hasn’t already.

For recruiters and hiring managers, this can seem like a logistical nightmare. However, the recruitment strategy in the gig economy has many commonalities with traditional recruitment. While the position, benefits and relationships have changed, recruitment is still a people business. Bottom line: You have a need to fill.

Furthermore, you’ll continue to have needs to fill, so keep an eye on the future. Keep building up your network of potential employees, just start incorporating the gig economy mindset too. Build a ready-to-go on-demand talent team, including new and traditional workers. Your ability to adapt to the new challenges and opportunities ahead will remain vital and allow you to thrive.

Want to know more about what industries are embracing the gig economy? Need more insight about recruitment strategies to utilize? Download the white paper »