The “gig economy”, the “sharing economy”, the “app economy” – all terms used to describe today’s economic client and trending workforce – but what does this mean? How will this affect us? I’ve been working in temp recruitment for 3.5 years at Clarity and have been contributing to the rise of this workforce. Let me break it down for you.
Gig economy = an environment where temp/freelance positions are common. The most common parallel is Uber, allowing just about anyone with a driver’s license to have a gig. However, it goes way beyond Uber. From freelance tech coders to temp admins and contract project managers, there are many ways to get involved and reap the benefits of the gig economy. By 2020, 40% of the American workforce will be independent contractors!
The reasons for the rise in temp/gig work? We are a global and mobile workforce where we can work anywhere with a WiFi signal. We aren’t constrained to take on projects or jobs that are geographically local, the opportunities are endless. Equally, employers can hire anyone around the world, expanding the talent pool to get the best of the best for the job. There is also a rising generation of workers who insist on aligning their values with their jobs. It’s not enough to have a stable job with benefits anymore – the millennial generation wants to feel a sense of purpose in their work.
This new economic climate is a good thing! Here are some of the benefits for both freelancers/temps and companies:
Benefits to freelancer/temp:
- Flexibility/Excitement: Gone are the days of going to the same office everyday for years or even going to an office at all. There is the opportunity to try new things and meet new people.
- Work/life balance: Typically freelance or temp workers are not expected to work crazy hours, which allows for a life outside of work. This is great for people pursuing a passion project yet still need to make money.
- Build personal brand/skills: Taking on new projects and working in different types of environments builds valuable skills that provide momentum to further build a career.
Benefits to companies:
- Save resources: Companies save money by not having to administer benefits, office space, and sometimes formal training to freelancers/temps.
- Flexible workforce: Similar to how the freelancer/temp has flexibility, companies who embrace the freelance/temp economy benefit from being able to bring on workers when in need and shed them when the project is finished.
- Get the best talent: Hiring freelancers/temps can be cheaper than hiring permanent employees. Companies can sometimes get top talent on a freelance basis that would otherwise be too expensive permanently.
While there are a ton of benefits to temping and hiring temps, there are a few considerations for both temps and hiring companies. For the temps, there typically aren’t benefits. There are ways to obtain benefits more easily now and with the ACA. There are rules in place that require health coverage, but typically it is more expensive to get coverage on your own versus with a company. There is also a lack of stability for both parties. With the temp and hiring company both having this “flexible” mindset, unless there are expectations put in place, there is opportunity for disappointment. For the temp, a job can end sooner than expected and for the company the temp may have other things going on that require time away. However, if both parties set expectations up front, there should be no issue.
It’s exciting times right now! We can work wherever we want and practically on whatever we want. Get yourself out there! The possibilities are endless!