Intuit predicts 40% of American workers will be independent contractors by 2020. This gig economy – where professionals make a living working multiple contract jobs instead of a traditional 9-5 position – opens doors for both companies and professionals.
Currently, 33% of professionals work a second job and 56% of individuals believe they will work multiple jobs in the future1. Upwork’s annual report indicates 55 million people are freelancing in 2017.
As the gig wagon moves through, here’s what it means for employees and employers.
Why workers are jumping on this new trend.
Flexibility and balance are so desired that some professionals are forgoing traditional employment to achieve it. “Freelance and contract work allows a person to set their own terms,” shares Jim Wojtak, a Career/Transition Coach at IMPACT Group. “They can accept work based on hours, pay, and schedule. The downside is instability and possibly feeling like an outsider among full-time employees at the organization.”
Gig sites like TaskRabbit, OneSpace, Upwork, Handy, and Topcoder are on the rise, easily connecting workers with open possibilities. “Gig roles enable individuals to try out different settings, roles, and skills,” Jim comments. “They can engage in new areas of interest, or quit and try something else more easily.”
For the 33% of workers already working multiple jobs, what’s their motivation? Some say money, but a large majority do it to fulfill their passion.1 IMPACT Group Career Coach Regina Moser shares, “Branding and marketing is a big part of being in the gig economy. It takes a lot of time and energy to balance multiple part-time roles or establish a new business.”
How employers benefit from a flex workforce.
Contract work has the potential to lower costs for businesses, but it increases the need for strategic planning. As Adobe’s workforce trends report points out, companies will need to “quickly identify work/projects in need of attention, source contract employees, and swiftly staff project teams.”
51% of global executives plan to increase the use of contingent workers in the next three to five years.2
One advantage: Employers have a larger pool of people to pick from – not just local talent. Like many businesses, IMPACT Group benefits from just that. “A contingent workforce helps us have consistent, available service delivery during our peak times,” shares Christina Callahan, Director of Human Resources at IMPACT Group. “It also enables us to provide customized service. Many talented people across the globe get to be part of our team.”
If you have a tough role to fill – say a biostatistician – you might struggle to find the skills you are looking for in the local market. Outsiders might not be willing to relocate to your office. A remote contract position solves the problem. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. Christina shares, “It takes more recruiting manpower to keep a contingent workforce up and running. You must have strong communication practices to keep the employees engaged and informed about the organization.”
Flexibility and scalability for employees and organizations. That’s a key benefit to gigging.
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1 Work in Progress 2016, Adobe.com