Things have changed drastically across most industries, where the ‘gig economy’ has emerged. In a gig economy, more and more independent contractors are doing temporary and short assignments or ‘gigs’, such as a food delivery or a car journey, rather than being employed permanently.
Findings from a study indicated that people are moving away from traditional work arrangement into a non-standard.
In New Zealand, freelance work or short-term contracts are fast developing in the labour market.
It’s likely that people who join the gig economy will remain part of it for quite some time and the percentage will become progressive.
The Millennial workers, in their mid 20’s – mid 30’s, have been leading the gig economy. Add into the mix are those in their early 20’s, fresh university graduates who are now entering the workforce and will keep this trend going.
There are different reasons why this is now the trend. One of them is that people prefer to spend their time and effort in working on things they really want to do, and in an environment where they specialise.
This benefits both the workers and employers.
- Autonomy — Being their own boss is appealing, as it gives workers a sense of seniority and independence.
- Flexible working — The ideal work-life balance seems more achievable with various options in a gig economy environment.
- Acquiring industry knowledge — workers can choose to work on multiple projects and organisations. It exposes them to relevant industries while gaining considerable knowledge on the latest systems and processes.
- Love the work — Workers, who do something they’re good at and enjoy, are engaged with what they do. Short-term contracts give satisfaction to provide high-quality skilled work.
- Availability & options — Skilled workers are available when needed in a network of independent contractors. Employers can have more financially viable options for their business by hiring skilled staff based on their current needs and budget.
- Motivated staff — People working on what they actually want leads to better outcomes, productivity, and engagement.
- Increase in Employer Value Proposition (EVP) — The organisation can promote flexible working with this trend, which raises their EVP. Keeping up with the current market trends attracts the best talent.
If there are benefits in the gig economy, there are also deficits that come with it.
- Unpredictability — In terms of continuous work, it’s inconsistent. Being in a gig economy can be more stressful in between contracts because of lack of job security.
- Social isolation — This can either be a good or bad state for a worker to be in. Usually, being part of a team gives a sense of unity and support. Lack of contact with co-workers can be lonely.
- Limited opportunities for training — Most businesses invest on their employee’s training & development. Workers in a gig economy are left to themselves in keeping their skills up-to-date. Also missed is the benefits of regular performance reviews.
- Workforce instability — Employers will have to tailor the work suitable for independent contractors. Creating short-term assignments or projects to reach the business’ long-term goals could be an ongoing process.
- Unreliability — Although high skilled workers’ previous projects could be a good indication of their capabilities, it can be hard to monitor someone working remotely.
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