Gone are the days when traditional employment was the only option. Whether creating awesome visuals, providing administrative tasks and services, or curating information-rich online blogs, gig work is taking the world by storm. The traditional employment structures are being challenged as more individuals seek flexible opportunities.
However, amidst the promise of freedom and autonomy, non-traditional gig workers face a pressing issue—instability. Let us explore the challenges and provide insights to help you navigate this new landscape.
What’s Gig Work and Why Is There So Much Hype About It?
Gig work, also known as the gig economy, refers to temporary, flexible jobs where individuals work independently on a project or task basis. Instead of being tied down to a traditional 9-to-5 job, gig workers can choose when, where, and how they work.
For starters, gig work has opened up a whole new world of opportunities, especially during the pandemic. It’s an irresistible blend of flexibility, freedom, and exciting opportunities. Whether you’re in it for the extra cash, the chance to explore new horizons, or simply to break free from the work routine, gig jobs created a unique way to work that attracted countless talented individuals into the new system.
What’s the Current Gig Work Participation Like?
According to Zippa’s 2023 report, a whopping 59 million American adults jumped on the gig economy bandwagon in 2020.¹ That’s about 36 percent of the entire U.S. workforce! Also, in 2021, a staggering 52 percent of workers are seriously considering embracing freelance life instead, ready to bid farewell to their 9-to-5 grind.
Over the past decade, the gig economy has experienced a growth rate of 15 percent, which is 15 times higher than the overall job growth. This means that gig jobs aren’t just a passing trend. It’s becoming a major player in the labor market, attracting a significant portion of workers.
What Caused The Shifting Attitudes From Traditional Employment to Gig Economy Job?
Unlike traditional work, temporary or freelancing jobs offer so much flexibility. From leveraging tools and skills to managing your own time, temporary positions attract many talented individuals out there.
1. The Rise of Technology
Technology has revolutionized the way we work. With advancements like high-speed internet, mobile devices, and cloud computing, the traditional 9-to-5 office setup is no longer the only option.
People now have the flexibility to work remotely, collaborate with teams worldwide, and even start their businesses online. The convenience and freedom offered by technology have played a significant role in changing attitudes toward traditional employment.
2. Changing Generations
The younger generations, such as millennials and Gen Z, have brought new perspectives to the table. They value flexibility, work-life balance, and meaningful work.
These generations have witnessed economic uncertainty and are more inclined toward pursuing their passions and creating their paths. They prioritize experiences and personal growth over traditional notions of success.
3. Desire for Autonomy
Traditional employment often has rigid hierarchies, limited decision-making power, and fixed work structures. Many people have started seeking more autonomy and control over their work lives.
They want to have a say in the projects they work on, the hours they put in, and the overall direction of their careers. This desire for autonomy has led to a shift from traditional employment towards more independent and self-directed work arrangements.
4. Changing Economic Realities
Economic shifts, such as the global financial crisis of 2008 and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, have profoundly impacted employee attitudes. Many people have experienced job losses or witnessed the instability of traditional employment during these challenging times.
As a result, they have become more open to alternative work arrangements, exploring entrepreneurship, or pursuing multiple income streams to diversify their sources of income and mitigate risk.
Does This Mean Non-Traditional Jobs Don’t Face Any Challenges?
Oh, sure, they do. Gig work has its own perks, but there are challenges as well. Like traditional work, there are things that you need to be aware of when it comes to gig work.
If you’re a candidate, there are things that you need to consider and accept as gig work has its differences with traditional jobs. As for employers, working with flexible talent has its downside as well. After all, it boils down to what works for you best.
1. Income Inconsistency – Candidate
In the gig economy, income can be inconsistent and unpredictable. Non-traditional work is often faced with fluctuations in workload, project availability, and payment schedules. Managing finances and planning for the future can be a rollercoaster ride when your income isn’t steady.
2. Lack of Benefits – Candidate
Remember those sweet employee benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off? Well, in the gig economy, those perks might be as elusive as a unicorn. Independent contractors are often responsible for their benefits, which can be costly and challenging to navigate.
3. Self-Employment Taxes – Candidate
Contractors often have the joy of dealing with self-employment taxes. Unlike traditional employees who have their taxes deducted from their paychecks, they need to handle their tax obligations. This means calculating and paying taxes on their earnings, which can be confusing, time-consuming, and stressful.
4. Instability – Candidate
Non-traditional workers may lack the stability and security of conventional employment. Projects can come and go as clients have changing needs, and freelancers can face fierce competition. It’s like living on the edge, never knowing when the next gig will come along.
5. Limited Workplace Benefits – Candidate
Say goodbye to those office water cooler chats and team-building retreats. Non-traditional workers often miss out on the camaraderie and social connections that come with traditional workplaces. They might feel isolated, with limited opportunities for collaboration or professional development.
6. Communication and Collaboration – Employer
Working with freelancers remotely can hinder seamless communication and collaboration, leading to misunderstandings and project delays.
7. Accountability and Quality – Employer
This could easily be a hit or miss. It becomes more challenging to maintain quality standards when workers operate on their own with minimal supervision. Or when workers only stay for a limited time. This brings us to more challenges—onboarding and training.
8. Onboarding and Training – Employer
This takes time and effort—most definitely a lot of resources. It becomes a struggle in itself. Would I train an employee who I know would only stay for a couple of months?
9. Time Zone – Employer
Being open to gig work also opens to the possibility of having a workforce that’s available 24/7. However, it makes collaboration a challenge. Meeting with your team everyday is already out of the window. You can even expect someone will be late or a no show to meetings!
10. Data Security – Employer
Imagine opening up your resources to new employees. Then suddenly your website gets deleted. Everything is lost. Or worse, stolen and sold to a competitor. Data and information are two of the most important things companies secure but become even more fragile when your workforce operates on non-traditional spaces like the Cloud.
Finding a Balance: What Lessons Does the Impact of the Gig Economy Hold for Employers?
The truth is employees and employers have their fair share of challenges in the job market. While employees may face work instability from time to time, employers may become short of team members, finding it difficult to attract suitable candidates because of the competitive landscape. Whatever the situation, both parties can embrace the gig economy.
1. Embrace Flexibility
According to a recent survey, 80 percent of workers prioritize flexible work arrangements as a crucial element when assessing potential employment opportunities.²
People want more control over their work lives, where they can spend more time with their loved ones, hobbies, personal matters and health. Offering flexible work arrangements can be a major selling point in attracting a wider pool of candidates. Think of remote work options, flexible schedules, and project-based assignments. By accommodating flexibility, you can attract top talent and keep your employees happy and motivated.
2. Tap Into the Gig Talent Pool
The gig economy has expanded the talent pool in remarkable ways. It’s not just about traditional employees anymore. There’s a whole army of skilled freelancers, contractors, and consultants out there, ready to bring their expertise to the table.
Don’t limit your options. Whether you do it independently or through a firm like Portfolio Creative, consider tapping into this vast gig talent pool where you can find specialized skills or temporary support. It can save you time and money, gaining fresh perspectives.
3. Nurture a Culture of Collaboration
Build platforms and communication channels that allow seamless collaboration, regardless of whether someone is a full-time employee or a gig worker. It’s all about breaking down those silos and working together towards common goals.
4. Emphasize Results, Not Just Time
The gig economy has shattered the notion that productivity is tied to the number of hours spent in the office. Focus on results, not just time clocked in. Set clear expectations and goals for your employees and gig workers, rewarding them based on outcomes.
This approach fosters a results-driven mindset, encourages efficiency, and allows individuals to manage their time in ways that work best for them.
5. Invest in Relationships
When working with gig workers, treat them as valued members of your team, even if it’s for a short-term project. Cultivate meaningful connections, communicate clearly, and show appreciation for their contributions. This not only ensures better collaboration but also creates a positive reputation, making it easier to attract suitable candidates for future job roles.
6. Adapt and Innovate
As an employer, staying on top of emerging trends, technologies, and work models is crucial. Be open to experimenting with new approaches, embracing new technologies, and adapting your business to meet the changing needs of both employees and gig workers.
IF YOU NEED HELP FINDING EMPLOYEES FOR SHORT-TERM PROJECTS, PORTFOLIO CREATIVE IS HERE!
Sure, there are challenges gig workers and employers face but when you work with us, it’s a much better experience. We help navigate these challenges and allow gig work opportunities to shine. Whether its salary, benefits and tax withholding for employees, or quality of work and training of employees for employers, Portfolio Creative is here for you!
With us, you’ll have access to the expertise, network, and know-how to attract the best candidates for your team. Time to level up your workforce! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you match the right candidates for your business needs.
1. Kolmar, Chris. “23+ Essential Gig Economy Statistics : Definition, Facts, and Trends on Gig Work” Zippia, 16 Feb.2023, https://www.zippia.com/advice/gig-economy-statistics/
2. “Flexible Work Statistics and Trends in 2023.” Gitnux, 24 May 2023, https://blog.gitnux.com/flexible-work-statistics/