Gig economy: effect of growing uberization of the workforce

A search on Google defines gig economy as “a labour market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs”.  This basically means employers are looking at temporary positions, as opposed to employing full-time employees, where employment could be project-based or hour-based. This trend is believed to keep growing in the future.

CNBC reports, “Over the past 20 years, the number of gig economy workers – those who operate as independent contractors, often through apps — has increased by about 27 percent more than payroll employees.” This change is being seen in different percentages across the world based on multiple reports available online.

There is obviously an employee angle to this entire change, as more and more people are looking to employ on contract basis.  The argument is that this format is affecting the financial security offered by stable employment vs. being contracted for employment.  In addition, employees believe that it is helping corporations save money in terms of how much they need to spend on a full-time employee. So there is a certain bias against corporates which they must realize as the gig economy evolves.

However, for now, even the organizations that are employing people on contract face many challenges. Though contractual employment started a while ago, here are some of the changes that employers are compelled to include:

  • Change in job descriptions: There is an underlying difference in the job roles and the hiring methodologies of employers. Agility in this space includes hiring quickly and implementing solutions faster. Gig economy works across industries and is fast changing the paradigms of traditional recruitment.
  • Finding reliable resources: Given that resources are temporary and transient it becomes vital for organizations to find reliable resources willing to work on contract for longer periods. Reliability for an employee and employer is important for a long, trustworthy and dependable relationship.
  • Sourcing talent: Sourcing talent within and outside the organization becomes a challenge. This means businesses and potential employees both need to expand their professional network to cater to the need of the hour that are usually urgent and immediate. Additionally, finding the right kind of talent certainly makes all the difference.
  • Monitoring on deliverables: In the gig economy, an employee may work with one or more organizations hence would require a lot more monitoring unlike regular employees. KPIs for them would have to be determined, that would be different from regular full-time employees. This would necessitate several follow ups and close monitoring, as they may be working remotely.
  • Tracking: Tracking the number of hours worked, work contribution made, compensation to be provided, all of these must be tracked and kept account of. Unprofessional behavior from either party could end up in a bitter split and lots of negative publicity which could be detrimental.  
  • Quality control: Given that there are multiple vendors or contractors doing the same or similar things, it is very important for an organization to focus keenly on quality control. This will ensure that the messaging and services provided are up to the standard.

Overall, the world is moving towards gig economy. Not everything is kosher with the concept, but as an organization or an employee you can make it work for you, which when done right can have very positive financial impact for employers.  It also works for employees who do not want to be tied down to one organization. Additionally, doing it right with the right kind of resource also means getting things done easily, effectively and productively.