The Gig Economy, or Freedom Economy o
Over the last century, the notion of stability has been redefined. It's only been 5 years since the Atlantic compared the ‘gig economy’ surge to that of the industrial revolution, and the surge shows no sign of slowing. Previously referred to as the ‘sharing economy’, the ‘gig economy’ is characterised by the uptake of short-term contracts or freelancer work, opposed to permanent jobs. With technology disrupting the Australian labour market, one clear positive result of this process has been the enablement of contingent workers to increase productivity for both businesses, and it’s workforce. The US is already recognizing the gig economy as the
“Biggest change in the American workforce in over a century”
- Robert Reich, Former United States Secretary of Labour
Research conducted by Edelman Intelligence has concluded that within the next four years, around 40% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers. With the US making waves, it’s only a matter of time until Australia follows suit and joins the revolution. It appears that people entering the workforce are flocking to those corporations that provide them with the flexibility to take carers leave, work remotely/from home and of course the much-debated paternity/maternity leave. In fact, research conducted by Bain & Company (2015) found that:
45% of millennials choose flexibility over salary when choosing companies to work for.
However, you don't need to be part of Gen Y or raising a family to prioritise flexible working conditions over salary. Flexible working arrangements aren't so much a work perk, they are increasingly becoming a necessity to retain top talent and engage with highly sought after individuals who will continue to choose flexibility and freelance work. These individuals want to be self-sufficient, independent and focus on short-term projects in lieu of a traditional nine-to-five job with one employer. As opposed to the gig economy, some are referring to it as the Freedom Economy.
"Flexibility extends to everyone and it's not a one size fits all. It's more than part-time, job share and working from home. It's more than early/late starts and finishing times. It's much more”
- Elisa Choy, Head of Micro-Space, Woolworths Supermarkets and Ambassador of Flexible Working Day.
Technology is catching up to our needs, now we are able to communicate with employees remotely, over Skype, phone, Slack, hangouts, email etc... a majority of these innovations free.
So what does this mean for organisations?
Enterprises are able to benefit from the gig economy in a number of ways, by employing contingent workers they are able to reduce the need for more office space, reduce various expenses and access a new breed of expertise for their niche challenges and priorities, often outside their core business. It might even be said that companies are paving the way for the future of work, and are changing the physical layout of their office space. Look no further than ‘WeWork’. WeWork was built essentially to give freelancers a great space to work. Choosing when and where to work is a huge benefit and also provides a sense of community for freelance workers. Contingent Talent Management platforms and tools to visualise and manage this new workforce is something that organisations are having to consider for the first time. Companies who are leading in engaging in this freelance workforce are also focussed on retention strategies to keep their top freelance talent and precious IP.
Why We Are Celebrating Flexible Work Day
Flexibility comes in many dimensions, and it is this very notion that drives freelancers to sign up on our platform. Whilst job sharing is one way to keep employees motivated and retained, there is a more permanent solution whereby individuals are free to complete the projects they want to - and that’s where we come in. If you're wondering what workplace flexibility could look like for your organisation, check out ‘Flexible Work Day’ for free toolkits, tips and blogs here. Join us on June 6th as we celebrate flexibility in both career and life.