One of the fastest growing sectors in the labor force today is the rise of independent contractors. These independent contractors are the individuals who comprise what’s known as the gig economy. Neither part-time nor full-time employees, they opt to work from gig to gig.
They often call themselves freelancers and you can find them running Airbnbs, teaching yoga, writing computer code, blogging, and driving for a ride-sharing company. With the rise of individuals choosing to work in the gig economy, we feel you should know about more about gig economy trends and how they can benefit your business.
What is the Gig Economy?
The gig economy is a rising sector of workers who have neither full-time nor part-time jobs. They work as independent contractors, fulfilling temporary needs for small and large corporations.
These workers enjoy the flexibility their working life affords them. They are often able to set their own hours and even negotiate their own pay rates. Many see this as a welcome change from the working lives they saw many of their parents endure as full-time 9-5, salaried employees.
However, the gig economy is not based on the sense of stability their parents enjoyed. Rather, it is based more on flexibility, ever-changing pay rates, and workers who typically have no benefits.
Gig economy workers are attractive because they fall outside of typical labor laws. Companies are not required to pay them overtime, incur payroll tax for their services, nor do they provide any benefits to contract workers whatsoever.
What are the Current Gig Economy Trends?
The strongest gig economy trends are towards workers who contract through online platforms. Websites such as TaskRabbit, Lyft, or Rover.com serve as an intermediary between the worker and the end consumer. These platforms screen workers, match workers to consumer needs and facilitate payments (minus a fee).
This labor sector is slated for major growth. As Randstad projects, 61 percent of employers plan to convert their job offerings to part-time, contract, and temporary positions. Employers, like contract workers, enjoy the flexibility and diversity that a contract-based labor force provides.
Many workers enter the gig economy straight from college or trade school, and employers thus receive a labor force with strong, fresh skills, who are thirsty for experience.
The pros and cons of gig economy trends essentially split along the micro/macro line in the larger economy. While individuals and companies enjoy freedom and flexibility in their labor choices, there is little long-term stability. Gig workers are less likely to be able to afford a mortgage or commit to other long-term commitments.
Who’s Hiring Freelancers?
Freelancers are hired by everyone from individuals seeking an afternoon handyperson to major corporations who need highly-skilled computer coders to help complete a task. While small businesses used to be the primary domain of freelancers, larger companies are converting their workforce to include more contractors.
Using a freelance workforce, businesses can keep their products and services fresh and innovative, as new faces and minds bring fresh ideas and approaches to the business.
Increase in Remote Working
Remote working is on the rise and may be a response to gig economy growth. Where gig workers enjoy shorter workweeks, remote workers love working from home, or anyplace in the world. In fact, some remote workers choose to live in their cars, make a life in short-term rentals via Airbnb, or simply prefer working in the most casual clothes they own.
Employers appreciate using remote workers due to the lower costs, the ability to recruit talent nationwide, and the overall heightened morale of a typical remote worker. Since remote workers have no need to commute, workplace tardiness and absenteeism is greatly reduced.
Increased Need for Networking
One gig economy trend that impacts employer and worker alike is the need for networking. Employers need to be on a constant search for new contract workers, as their current contractors might be recruited away to permanent jobs or find other opportunities in other gig economy sectors.
New talent is constantly entering their industry. The companies who are able to network and stay on the pulse of the best talent in their field will find the best success over the long-term.
Learn How the Gig Economy Can Help Your Business
If you are curious about this sector and what it can provide you, give us a call today. We are happy to answer your questions and help you grow your business!