The Gig Economy: A New Era in Talent Management

The Gig Economy: A New Era in Talent Management

McKinsey Global estimates that about 162 million people, or 20-30% of the working age population, engage in some form of short-term, tasked-based, or autonomous work. In the U.S., more than one in three workers are freelancers, and that figure could grow to 40% by 2020.

In a recent survey of more than 7,000 business leaders from 130 countries, Deloitte found that more than half plan to increase their use of contingent workers in the next 3-5 years. In a similar study by PwC, 46% of human resources professionals surveyed expected at least 20% of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers  by 2020.  

New generations are changing traditional ideas about career growth, job loyalty and what makes work meaningful. According to a recent study, 68% of workers surveyed believe agile working arrangements are a better lifestyle fit for them. More than half of those who do work independently cite greater control over their career as a driving factor.

Technology is a driving factor in the rise of the gig economy. New networking platforms are helping those who provide valuable services connect directly to buyers. Sites like TaskRabbit, SpareHire, Pilot and Lystable offer services like home maintenance, business expertise, IT support and marketing.

Tech-based gigs are in high demand. About one in seven web developers identify as self-employed, and more software developers are gigging – about 9% of the workforce. More seasoned IT professionals cite the ability to learn new skills as a reason they like to gig.

The gig economy is already transforming how staffing agencies, recruiters and HR managers engage with talent. These challenges falling into four broad categories:

  • Speed. Strategic hiring on a project-to-project basis might be good for the business, but hiring and onboarding need to be tremendously accelerated, and that will be difficult to achieve without help.
  • Skills. In the gig economy, demonstrated skills are what counts.
  • Breadth. Building a pipeline of freelancers and independent contractors who are top performers isn’t easy. It means understanding their history of performance. In the new gig economy where talent moves quickly, portable references will be the credentials that count.
As the gig economy grows and business environments become more dynamic, organizations will rely more heavily on people experts to design and develop new talent strategies. The speed and scale of hiring in the gig economy will transform how talent is sourced, recruited and evaluated. Some big questions will need to be answered, such as: “How can we build new, collaborative processes for acquiring the right talent quickly?”