The much-discussed gig economy isn’t just for “creatives” and IT experts any more—everyone should Join the Party! Those in the agency business can pat themselves on the back for taking a pioneering approach to what’s now formally referred to as the gig economy. Advertising and branding agencies have long since made the most of the fact that project-based work is often best served by freelance, temporary workers. But the focus in the past has been mostly on two skill-sets—creative (from graphics to video content), and IT wizards who can ride into town, make it all work, and then disappear into the sunset.
Now, however, demographic and economic factors indicate the gig economy is spreading rapidly into all walks of work, and those who want to stay at the cutting edge should make sure they embrace it wholeheartedly, with a serious review of all staffing needs in light of the new trends. For the early adopters, the lessons learned vary; some, like Uber, are navigating the legal landscape over issues of status and benefits for workers, with a potential for a “hybrid” worker who is neither a contractor nor a full-on employee. Others, such as agencies, are learning how to onboard “gig” workers without taking a hit in efficiency.
There will be winners and losers in this new economy, justified fears of exploitation, and some companies who increase their competitive edge by consciously bucking the trend, but the gig economy is here to stay, changing the way highly educated white-collar professionals, at the least, make their living. Meanwhile, significant innovation means current full-time workers might double as freelancers, not just for a different employer, but their existing one, as Wal-Mart is showing.
Done right, a constant, fresh supply of tailor-made talent is a great prospect for any business, especially if it keeps workers fully engaged and satisfied, and Ideon is fully behind the gig economy.