In its purest form, the gig economy refers to the effort to monetize skills and time in order to earn money while taking on various projects (or gigs)—think freelance and contract-based work, as well as the classic moonlighting efforts at night and on weekends. Although this started out as a classic “side hustle” to earn extra cash to help supplement primary incomes, many folks have decided to opt-out of structured full-time work and instead are cobbling together a living primarily through various short-term projects, affording them the opportunity to pick and choose work that matters to them that they can complete on their terms.
As a talent acquisition professional, you’re undoubtedly aware of the importance of staying on top of all the latest innovations and trends in the job market. After all, your success depends upon hitting your key performance metrics and outperforming the competition in your industry when it comes to sourcing the best available talent for your organization.
Why is this so critical? As you know, today’s job market is undeniably fierce, with everyone from lean startups to giant corporations vying for the same candidates (a notion likely causes you no small level of anxiety, stress, and sleepless nights). Professionals who stay informed and build effective strategies that leverage volatility and change to their advantage will be successful—and the rest will be left behind, struggling to just keep up.
A significant trend that you’re going to need to keep firmly on your radar if you haven’t started to already, is the rise of the gig economy and how it’s upending the job market. What started out as a quiet quest for a side hustle has recently begun to roar loudly across the hiring landscape and, simply put, it’s changing the way employers and employees are approaching the very notion of work.
Savvy and progressive employers have taken notice and are leveraging the power of the gig economy to their benefit as well—hiring individuals for project-based work allows them to keep their staff overhead low and scale up only when needed. It also gives them the flexibility to source and try out new freelancers, and easily discontinue relationships with those who are poor fits while keeping talented individuals in their orbits—a real win-win arrangement.
If you’re ready to start taking the gig economy seriously, here are three key stats that you should be aware of regarding this powerful new trend.
There Are 57 Million Gig Workers - So Far
Although statistics regarding the actual number of workers in the gig economy varies by source and is difficult to accurately quantify, a recent article by Innovation Enterprise Ltd. estimates that at least as many as 57 million individuals are taking part—and the number continues to grow. As a talent acquisition professional, you should read this as a clear indication that if you’re committed to finding the best available candidates, you may have to move beyond the traditional full-time hiring mode.
43% Of Workers Will Make The Switch To Gig Jobs
The total proportion of the American workforce that’s expected to move to remote- and freelance-based employment as of 2020 is 43%, as reported by Innovation Enterprise Ltd. With nearly half (!) of the country’s able-bodied workers dipping their feet into the waters of the gig economy in some form, it’s definitely in your best interests to seriously consider incorporating contract-based employment—where many of today’s best and brightest candidates are sourcing work—into your hiring strategy.
50% of companies are making significant changes
50%; that is the percentage of existing companies (according to EY) that have already made a deliberate effort to significantly ramp up their use of gig economy workers over the past five years—and remain committed to following this trend moving forward. There’s no denying that today’s agile and forward-thinking organizations are leveraging the gig economy to their advantage when recruiting to meet their needs.
All signs and data indicate that the gig economy is here to stay and will continue to gain traction as a standard hiring practice for the near future. Assess your current practices and systems to see how you match up and consider taking an active role in this new hiring world before you get left behind.