How Businesses Can Leverage the Gig Economy for Growth

The gig economy is expanding rapidly, and businesses that figure out how to leverage it will be able to grow at an unprecedented rate.

So what is driving this growth?

We deep-dive into important gig economy statistics for 2022 and the future, while examining several factors at play, all of which, if leveraged properly can help businesses thrive in the evolving employment landscape.

What is the gig economy?

The gig economy is a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

Gig work is often undertaken by independent contractors or freelancers who use digital platforms, or staffing firms to find and connect with clients.

Key gig economy statistics for 2022 to consider:

  • There are 70 million Americans who freelance (42% of the US workforce), making it the highest global market for gig workers
  • The number of global gig workers is expected to rise by more than 30 million people next year
  • The data science & analytics sector had the highest year-over-year spend on freelance workers (up 115%)
  • 30% of freelancers come from the web & graphic design sector
  • When asked, 63% of gig workers said they prefer a flexible work schedule versus a larger salary
  • 59% of gig workers believe they are making more money freelancing than they’d be able to do in a traditional role

Why is the gig economy growing?

1. The Great Resignation and possible US Recession

Driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. is seeing a mass exodus from traditional employment.

This, coupled with the labor shortages that came as a result of the pandemic has created a perfect storm for businesses to start leveraging gig workers.

In a recent survey from Upwork, 75% of gig workers noted they were taking on freelance work to ensure financial stability should the US enter a recession that affects their job industry.

2. Work flexibility & remote work

Now that workers are able to work from anywhere due to the rise in telecommunication technology, they are increasingly seeking out gig work in order to have more control over their schedules.

This allows them to take on multiple gigs at once and create a more diversified career that better suits their lifestyle.

3. A global pool of candidates

Hiring contractors opens up a larger pool of candidates by allowing businesses to source talent from all over the world — especially beneficial for businesses in industries that are experiencing labor shortages.

Not only that, employers aren’t tied to long-term commitments or the costs associated with benefits and other traditional forms of employment.

4. Lower overhead and cost cutting

By leveraging the gig economy, businesses can avoid the high overhead costs that come with traditional employment — think office space, benefits, etc.

In fact, many businesses are now opting for a completely remote workforce in order to save on these costs.

5. The evolution of Tech to support collaborative remote work

Constant advancements in technology — like Cloud services, AI, and VR — are driving the need for more Tech, digital marketing, & creative professionals all of which are likely to be drawn to remote work and short-term contract gigs.

In addition, digital platforms have made it easier than ever for businesses to connect with contractors, and telecommunication technologies have made it possible for talent to work from anywhere.

How can businesses leverage the gig economy?

Provide time & location flexibility

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons workers are drawn to gig work is the flexibility it provides in terms of time and location.

To attract top talent, businesses need to provide at least some degree of flexibility in these areas.

Foster a purpose-driven culture

In order to attract and retain top candidates, businesses need to foster a culture that is purpose-driven. This means creating a workplace where employees feel like they are part of something larger and that their work has meaning.

One way to do this is by offering opportunities for professional development and growth within their contracted time with your company.  

Revisit performance reviews & metrics

When hiring contractors, businesses need to rethink the way they measure performance as the metrics used to measure success for a full-time, long-term employee won’t apply to a contract worker.

This means reworking metrics and performance reviews in order to ensure that they are relevant to the gig worker and accurately reflect their contributions to your company.

Overhaul pay scales & benefits

The traditional pay scale and benefits package won’t work for gig workers. Instead, businesses need to be transparent about what they are willing to pay for each project or task and offer competitive rates based on average industry-standard salary ranges.

In addition, businesses can provide other forms of compensation that are attractive to gig workers such as paid time off, health & wellness perks, home office reimbursements, etc.

Tap into high-end talent pools

When it comes to Tech, digital marketing, and creative candidates, it can be difficult to find the top-tier talent your company needs especially when competing with other companies for the same workers.

One way to overcome this hurdle is to work with staffing agencies that specialize in Tech, digital marketing, and creative solutions as they’ll have a well-established pool of trusted and pre-vetted professionals to pull from.

Some staffing agencies like Mondo have robust Consultant Referral programs that foster a steady and consistent supply of new candidate referrals.

The future of the gig economy & key statistics:

The gig economy is only going to grow in the coming years as more and more businesses realize the benefits it has to offer.

Some statistics & trends to consider for the gig economy:

  • 86% of freelancers are confident the gig economy will continue to grow
  • 55% of full-time workers believe automation will not impact their job stability
  • 48% of new gig workers think freelancing is a long-term career decision
  • by 2023, the gig economy will be valued at $455 billion

As the workforce continues to evolve, companies need to be proactive about leveraging the gig economy in order to stay ahead of the curve and foster growth.

Not only does it provide access to top talent and lower overhead costs, but it also increases flexibility and allows for more control over individual projects and company turnover.

To make the most of the gig economy, businesses need to provide flexibility, foster a purpose-driven culture, revise performance metrics, and work with staffing agencies.

Find great talent when you partner with Mondo

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Many statistics and trends sourced from Velocity Global.

More articles about top industry salaries and trends:

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