Gig economy is booming, so HR must adapt to it
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
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