For many people working life involves putting on some form of professional attire and going out to work for a single, permanent employer. But there’s more than one way to skin a cat!
Many countries are moving increasingly towards a gig economy – where temporary positions and short-term work contracts (or ‘gigs’) are taking the place of traditional professional relationships. The US has been one of the trailblazers, with a study by Intuit forecasting that 40% of American workers will be independent contractors by 2020.
The benefits of independent working are quite obvious from an employee perspective. It’s mainly about autonomy; the freedom to choose how, when and where you want to work, and the variety that comes with ‘portfolio working’ – splitting one’s time between different projects and clients.
However, it’s employers who are really driving the change. A gig economy allows businesses to select from a pool of independent contractors, cherry-picking the best ‘solutions providers’ for individual projects. This is particularly important for start-ups with limited internal resources or smaller companies looking for greater access to high-quality workers.
Larger organisations are also coming around to this way of sourcing talent, and many now rely on freelance support to complement their existing capacity for innovative projects or niche assignments.
However, there’s still an element of risk involved in hiring independent contractors. Freelancers may struggle to follow through on large projects and don’t always have safety nets in place for when things go wrong. While remote working practices are more common than they used to be, trust is harder to establish with people who are sitting in a different building or part of the world.
While the gig economy is increasingly springing up in different corners of the globe, it will be some time before businesses are ready to do away with tried and tested ways of working altogether, however efficient they may be.
Source: HN Global