The Gig Economy: Beyond the Hype of the On-Demand Workforce

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Enterprise users have yet to embrace the gig economy to the extent that the consumer market has, with online talent platforms accounting for less than $5 billion in enterprise spend last year. These new talent sources may not displace traditional staffing or statement of work-based engagements any time soon. However, failing to factor them into your workforce strategies puts you at a disadvantage in the much-talked-about war for talent.

They have proven particularly effective for certain industries and skill sets such as online marketing, language translation, even legal services and event services. You can gain access to talent otherwise difficult to find through other channels by identifying the platforms most closely aligned with your workforce needs.

Factors to Consider About Online Talent Platforms

Incorporating online freelancer communities into your workforce successfully requires a well-researched strategy and diligent management processes. These factors will also help you navigate obstacles distinct from those presented by other workforce models, including...

  • Compliance and Regulatory Scrutiny: High-profile legal battles have called in to question whether workers truly qualify as self-employed contractors and the extent to which mandated wages and employment protections apply to them. Claims of discrimination have also become more frequent.
  • High Turnover Plagues Online Platforms. More than half of freelancers stop using online platforms within a year, according to JP Morgan Chase. The most likely to leave the gig economy? Participants with more stable employment or higher income and younger participants.
  • Worker Motivation and Engagement: Many online platforms appeal to hobbyists or part-time earners, who can be less invested in them as those who make their living from the gig economy. On the other hand, full-time workers may be optimistic and satisfied with a platform initially, but can become distrustful over time because of decreasing compensation or the lack of quality opportunities.
  • Skeptical Public View of The Gig Economy: One-in-five Americans feel that these jobs place too much financial burden on workers and let companies take advantage of workers, according to Pew Research. And just 16% feel that this type of work offers jobs upon which people can build careers.

Failing to address these concerns could negate the benefits online freelancer communities offer as part of a broader workforce strategy. A strategic workforce consultant such as ManpowerGroup Solutions can help you avoid common missteps organizations take when trying to find and engage top talent through still-developing channels. They can also assist with business case development or pilot program deployment. Increasing your knowledge of these promising talent sources can keep you from falling behind as they become more mainstream.