The professional world is evolving rapidly, and so are the expectations and preferences of workers and employers. One of the most important trends in the worker market is the interest and switch to the ‘Gig Economy’, a phenomenon that has been observed with the growing number of workers who perform temporary and part-time tasks for various clients, often through an online platform. A report by the Boston Consulting Group (2020) indicates the gig economy in India is expected to display a CAGR of 17% and acquire a market size of 455 billion USD by 2023. The gig economy isn’t simply a trend, but a genuine option for a lot of workers and employers because of a variety of reasons.
- Flexibility:Gig workers have the liberty to fix parameters like when, where, and how much they want to work to their preferences, aspirations, and availability. They also have the freedom to balance multiple sources of income and pursue what their passion drives them to.
- Autonomy: Gig workers also have more autonomy over their work routines and direction since they’re not bound by traditional obligations and limiters which are designed by employers to protect their own interests. This allows the workers to be in complete control and protect themselves from exploitation by having the opportunity to negotiate their terms and conditions with clients.
- Variety: Gig workers also have access to an expansive range of professional opportunities across various fields, skills, and industries. This allows them to acquire new skills, explore networking opportunities, and grow their portfolio.
- Earning Potential: Gig workers have the freedom to work as much as they want or across many different fields. They will likely encounter many different tax forms including form 1099K, 1099-MISC, and 1099-NEC. However, the earning potential for gig workers is virtually unlimited, with the only constraint being the fixed number of hours in a day.
- Cost-effectiveness: Employers leverage this structure of the economy by saving on liabilities that come from full-time permanent hiring and retention such as salaries, perks, taxes, training, HR, and infrastructure. It also allows employers to move to a pay-for-output model, instead of a strict hours-only model and prevent idle time and overstaffing.
- Agility: Employers gain access to a wide pool of skillsets and talent on demand as per their requirements without having to spend on recruitment and retention. This allows them to scale their workforce effectively and rapidly as the market volatility or their business needs dictate.
- Innovation: Employers get to access the diverse perspectives and experiences of gig workers which due to their versatility can offer unique, fresh, and effective concepts and solutions for their firms. This also allows them to use the latest technologies and tools that independent gig workers keep up with.
However, this does not mean that there is no scope for improvement in an already well-growing sector. In this context, it is as important for workers, as is for employers to maximize the power of the gig economy by adopting the best practices and methods that allow them to balance innovation with protection respectively. Some of the possible ways this can be executed while also improving the entire concept as a whole are:
- Pursue platforms that provide fair terms and conditions, transparent and credible payment systems, quality programs for training and skill building, feedback structures, dispute & conflict of interest protection, and community support.
- Produce strong personal branding activities by presenting relevant skills, experience, and sample portfolios and acquiring industry credibility with authentic referrals, testimonials, and work ratings from clients.
- Invest in professional development by adopting the latest industry trends, knowledge, and credentials by using skill-building platforms such as online courses, mentorship programs, and seminars.
- Pursue platforms that offer quality assurances, reliable and trusted services, and scam protection, and comply with relevant jurisdiction as expected according to the local law for the protection of businesses.
- Establish strong relationships with gig workers by providing clear expectations, detailed briefs, consistent and constructive feedback, due recognitions, and incentives along with sharing their company values and vision with the workers associated.
- Invest in digital renovation by adopting the latest technologies, mechanisms, and workflows that enable efficient, effective, and driven collaboration with gig workers.
The gig economy has a bright future and is soon going to be integral to what is the definition of professionalism in the modern world from the perspectives of both workers and employers who will be free to create win-win situations for themselves in their own domains that not only benefit the economy but also society as a whole.