Gig econ­omy is boom­ing, so HR must adapt to it

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - BUSINESS - JELENA DRLJIC SOUTH­ERN CROSS UNIVER­SITY POSTGRAD­U­ATE STU­DENT

MANY of us have heard about the rel­a­tively new phe­nom­e­non called the gig econ­omy.

The con­cept is pop­ping up in news­pa­pers, on TV and, in one way or an­other, most of us are also par­tic­i­pat­ing to­wards its ex­pan­sion.

While there are dif­fer­ent un­der­stand­ings as to what the gig econ­omy is, the term is pre­dom­i­nantly as­so­ci­ated with the pop­u­lar free­lanc­ing and con­tract­ing jobs that are avail­able via Uber or Air­tasker.

Oth­ers con­sider it an on­line ser­vice plat­form where peo­ple can pur­chase and sell their ser­vices (Airbnb).

Over­all, we can say that the gig econ­omy pro­vides every­one an op­por­tu­nity to be em­ployed un­der their own terms and con­di­tions.

The US Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics (BLS) has re­ported there are 10 mil­lion Amer­i­cans who work as free­lancers and/ or con­trac­tors.

The big­gest sur­prise from this re­search was that this was their pri­mary job which brings up the ques­tion of how many more free­lancers are us­ing gig econ­omy as a sup­ple­men­tary in­come re­source.

It has been forecast that by 2020, the gig econ­omy will ex­pand by 40 per cent.

The in­crease is mainly driven by two trends: rapid tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments and grow­ing num­bers of mil­len­nial work­ers, also known as Gen Y.

With this in mind, HR and Tal­ent Ac­qui­si­tions (TA) spe­cial­ists are be­ing urged to change the way they re­cruit and at­tract po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees. There are sev­eral propo­si­tions on how to use HR func­tions and tools in or­der to strate­gi­cally hire free­lancers, con­trac­tors and new mil­len­nial work­ers.

Firstly, HR spe­cial­ists must open up doors that pre­vi­ously might have been closed for these type of work­ers due to a per­cep­tion that free­lancers may not be as re­li­able or ef­fec­tive as other full-time work­ers.

Ex­pe­ri­ence has shown that these work­ers are usu­ally not of­fered train­ing nor is their per­for­mance man­aged and there was of­ten lit­tle in­vest­ment from the com­pa­nies.

Fur­ther, HR needs to get in­no­va­tive with the re­cruit­ment process, us­ing HR tech­nol­ogy

IT HAS BEEN FORECAST THAT BY 2020, THE GIG ECON­OMY WILL EX­PAND BY 40 PER CENT

ad­vance­ments.

An­other con­cern for HR man­agers from the growth of the gig econ­omy is that em­ploy­ees will not en­joy the ben­e­fits (such as su­per­an­nu­a­tion) or tra­di­tional pro­tec­tions that per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment would of­fer in a con­ven­tional work­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

This brings up a fur­ther ques­tion: will the de­mand for HR spe­cial­ists de­crease with the ex­pan­sion of the gig econ­omy? While this has yet to be dis­cov­ered, one thing is for sure, the gig econ­omy is chang­ing the way peo­ple work and in­evitably it is chang­ing the way peo­ple are hired.

JELENA DRLJIC IS A SOUTH­ERN CROSS UNIVER­SITY POSTGRAD­U­ATE STU­DENT

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