Gig Work Increasing in Popularity: How Businesses Should React

Gig work has become the norm in the USA, with more and more workers opting to work as a freelancer, a contract worker, or an independent contractor. 

In fact, 36% of US workers are in the gig economy. Digital tools have made gig work accessible for many people, both as their sole career or a side-gig alongside a traditional job. Many gig workers use online job boards, cloud sharing, and online communication to allow them to work remotely and find work from all over the world. 

Millennial and Gen-Z Trends

Currently, there are around 56.7 million freelance workers in the US, and the trend is that young people are very likely to pursue gig work. Many take on side jobs to pay off student debt, but many choose it instead of a traditional job in order to have a better work-life balance than the traditional workforce offers. 

Another reason for this choice is due to a rapidly shrinking job pool. Young people spent a significant amount on education only to graduate amongst a lot of competition. A degree is no longer always a guarantee of a good job, so young people are taking matters into their own hands and forging their own career paths by taking on freelance and contract work.

Additionally, 90% of Americans are open to the idea of freelancing, which shows how incredibly important it is for business to adapt in order to attract and retain talent instead of losing it to the gig economy. 

Tips for Attracting Applicants Who Prefer Gig Work

Trends show that work-life balance is the main reason people choose to work as a freelancer instead of a traditional employee. To attract talent, businesses need to offer flexibility to allow employees to maintain that all-important balance. This could mean allowing remote work for people who don’t need to be in the office all the time or offering flexible schedules to those with other commitments like childcare or caring for elderly parents. 

If you’re trying to attract young talent, offer the things that appeal to them about gig work. The current job pool appreciates both the flexibility and creative freedom that gig work offers, including, as mentioned, the ability to control their schedules, work from home, use their own devices, and more. Cutting edge technology also appeals to the Millennial-dominated workforce.

Some additional tips for attracting applicants in a gig-preferring job pool include the following:

  • Consider how you could adapt current positions to be remote or contract-based.
  • Adjust role titles to better fit a contract role, whether it is seasonal or more frequent work.
  • Increase employee benefits to improve staff retention so you don’t lose traditional workers.
  • Conduct pre-employment screening on all new hires, whether they are contracted or gig workers. Without background checks, you could face safety and security challenges.

Gig workers are prepared to move on quickly, so make sure your employee benefits are attractive enough to encourage employee loyalty. Young people don’t often expect to work at the same company for their whole career, so it’s important to maintain a strong company culture that is both flexible and fluid for attracting the talent you need.