Gig Economy

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What the Gig Economy Means to Your Business

July 09, 2018 - 2:00 pm

The gig economy is proving to be a vital contributor for the growth of small businesses. Not to be interchanged with long-term contracting or staff augmentation, the gig economy is essentially marked by short-term contractors, independent workers and freelancers seeking labor. These individuals are not unemployed, but rather seeking a variety of short-term positions on their own terms rather than long-term obligations. This type of workforce is expanding rapidly.


The growing appeal of a gig economy

In the next ten years, freelancers and independent contractors are predicted to compose a majority of the workforce. One Intuit study anticipates that roughly 40 percent of American workers will come from the gig economy by 2020, many in the form of independent contractors. The number of 1099s has also increased upwards of 22 percent since 2000 as freelance work continues to add approximately $715 billion dollars each year via freelance work. Studies have indicated an increasing growth rate within this labor force based on matters such as the ability to earn additional income, flexibility in work hours and automation. Millennials are fast becoming the largest demographic of the gig economy. Their connection to social media and ability to network for a variety of freelance positions providing the extra money and unrestricted schedules they crave make it easy and convenient to obtain opportunities.


Benefits of hiring short-term contractors

Companies have more options than ever for hiring the most qualified, passionate individuals to meet the needs of specialized projects, and the pool of candidates will only continue to grow. This increase touts tremendous benefits for entrepreneurs and business owners who will find themselves hiring these workers within their companies. The drive and qualifications that short-term contractors offer brings efficiency in terms of cost and time that deliver significant profits for businesses. Employers are able to quickly reach out to these gig workers, where mobile technology is preferred, allowing freelancers and independent contractors to conveniently receive, complete and upload work from virtually anywhere.

When those working in a gig economy team up with small businesses and creative companies, owners can expect to see a decrease in project overhead, with a quicker turnaround, lower costs related to interviewing, hiring and training, and less required office space. For startup companies or small businesses with budgets to match, employing freelancers encourages a fixed-costs-meets-strategy approach that proves to be beneficial in a gig market. Companies of all sizes are better able to manage their financial budget while still allowing for productivity and project efficiency. Companies are also helping fuel the growth behind the economy, thus creating additional job opportunities for independent contractors and ultimately a larger segment from which to pull for a more specialized temporary addition to their workplace.


Making the gig economy work for your business

Given the ever-changing workforce and the exponential growth of the gig economy, small businesses and companies should begin to find ways in which to attract specialized contractors. Particularly in situations where specific projects demand a unique skill set, independent contractors become even more valuable. As many entrepreneurs understand, we live in an age where digital technology, artificial intelligence and automation is constantly altering. Short-term contractors bring an unmatched sense of urgency, follow-through, focus and innovation to their work. By dipping into the gig economy, companies will be better able to position themselves as their industry’s leader.


This article was written by Jessica Wasik for Small Business Pulse