There’s an interesting dynamic in today’s workforce. It’s the proliferation of the gig economy, which is an environment where temporary positions (such as freelancers, contractors, and consultants) are common. There are advantages to this approach, the biggest being that organizations can tap into specialized talent when they need it. The challenge is that organizations need to engage temporary talent if they expect to keep them.
In iCIMS’ Q1 2016 U.S. Hiring Trends Report (PDF), they talk about the increase in contingent workers and its impact on overall hiring trends. It’s predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of U.S. workers will fall into the freelancer category (whether that’s on a full-time or part-time basis.)
Some industries are already accustomed to working with contingent staffing. I know from my days in the hospitality industry, we always had seasonal and on-call employees to help manage peaks and valleys in the operation. But I think there’s a bigger picture that organizations need to focus on.
The report mentions research from Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger which argues that the growth of the gig economy is in part from “jobs” that we don’t typically think of as jobs. Probably the best way to describe it is that the gig economy is about tasks. This puts some pressure on HR and organizations to get job design right. Effectively using the gig economy means giving the right work to the right individual.
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There’s also a challenge for employees. They have to gain the knowledge, skills, abilities and infrastructure to be successful freelancers. There’s more to being a successful freelancer than just knowing your craft. As a consultant, I have to think about marketing, budgeting, finance, office supplies and equipment, and my own development. The plus side is I can control those things. The downside is that they can drain resources in terms of time and money.
Organizations have to take both a strategic and long-term approach when it comes to their talent strategy. Employees need to take a long-term and strategic approach to their career strategy. That’s how people become (and stay) employed and companies get things done.
Image courtesy of the iCIMS Q1 2016 U.S. Hiring Trends Report