Across industries, there is still buzz around the growth of the gig economy. Is it the future model of the workplace market? Only time will tell, but the one thing research tells us is that it continues to be a growing trend that has many benefits for both independent contractors and buyers of services.
According to a popular research study conducted by Intuit and Emergent Research,[i] the gig economy accounts for over 34% of the American workforce. This number is expected to grow to 43% by 2020. So over the next two years, it is predicted that gig workers will increase to over seven million workers, with digital platforms being a contributing factor for this transformation.
This concept of an on-demand model of tapping into a pool of independent workers to meet an immediate business need, resource skillset, or service continues to play a significant role in the marketplace and the way we do business.
Different businesses are taking advantage of the benefits the gig economy has to offer. The gig economy comes in all shapes and sizes too – from Uber who uses a workforce of drivers to offer ridesharing services, to IKEA who offers independent freelance workers, “taskers,” to help customers conveniently assemble and install their purchases.
So why is the gig economy attracting so many workers?
Without question, there are many benefits. We say this with confidence based on our experience working with an adaptive workforce of learning and development (L&D) contract professionals over the past 24 years.
While this notion of the gig economy has been around for the past decade, this unique business model has been the cornerstone of The Training Associates, making us one of the first pioneers in the L&D gig market. With that understanding, I’ll share a few benefits of this powerful partnership model from an L&D perspective.
Through the Eyes of Independent Contract Workers – Our Learning and Development Talent
There are many advantages of being an independent worker compared to your typical 9 to 5, full-time employee. More and more workers are realizing the satisfaction, freedom, and flexibility it offers.
According to the October 2016 McKinsey Global Institute report,[ii] independent contractors who actively choose independent work and derive their primary income from it, report higher levels of satisfaction than those in traditional jobs by choice.
People are motivated by different factors professionally and intrinsically, so it could be a combination of benefits that appeals to workers, but many of our independent contractors are driven by these benefits:
- Work-life balance – This flexible work arrangement allows for a better balance of work obligations, allowing more opportunity to meet family demands and interests (painting anyone?)
- Opportunity to use your expertise – You can do what your best at and enjoy the most if microlearning is your passion or instructor-led training is your expertise, you can make it your focus (and you’ll be happier too!)
- Control over your schedule and types of projects – Learning engagements vary so you determine the types of projects, clients, and engagements you are most interested in pursuing – whether you are looking for a short-term design project or maybe a longer-term project with multiple training locations, you select what projects work best for you!
- Hello, new boss – If you love the sense of excitement that entrepreneurship brings, you’ll like the idea of reporting to your new boss (you) – to make decisions and oversee each engagement with a sense of pure ownership
- Location agnostic – You have the ability to work outside of an office or even at your summer home if you desire (write content…do a little fishing… let nature help foster creativity) — there are more options compared to working at one office location
- Self-starter – You thrive with the idea of making decisions on your schedule, financial rewards, and how you manage your time (spend more time with what makes you happy)
From our client’s perspective, there are also many advantages to this flexible, scalable training workforce model, including expertise on-demand, ability to scale, and cost-effective solution, but I’ll save this blog for another day.
There is no doubt that the gig economy is growing fast and will continue to have a significant impact on businesses and the contingent workforce. Companies are looking for an on-demand flexible workforce of talent to help make an impact on business outcomes, and we are proud to offer the best contingent workforce of L&D talent and services available.