Helping Clients Succeed in the Gig Economy

By Lori Jazvac.

As the world of work evolves, many can expect to change jobs frequently. Loyalty to one employer, once a commonly held value, is now giving way to the gig economy, which requires a complete shift in mindset.

Investopedia defines a gig economy as one in which “temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees.”

How do your clients see the gig economy?

The term gig economy often makes people uncomfortable. Many believe that it’s a negative thing, forcing workers to accept short stints of work instead of long-term, permanent jobs. Yet, the gig economy is actually a large part of a shifting cultural and business environment fueled by globalization, digitization, and/or artificial intelligence (AI).

According to Randstad Canada, 20% to 30% of the Canadian workforce is currently comprised of “non-traditional workers,” and that percentage is steadily increasing. Of the companies surveyed by Randstad, 85% think that they will increasingly move toward an “agile workforce” over the next few years. By 2020, 40% of American workers will likely be independent contractors.

The Benefits of The Gig Economy for Workers and Employers

While the gig economy has raised questions and challenges related to job security/career stability, employee vs. independent contractor classifications, HR policies, and the social insurance system, there are many benefits for both workers and employers.

The gig economy has fueled game-changing innovation and transformation while sparking forward-thinking ideas and breakthroughs in the global marketplace. This growth in new opportunities has been fueled by innovators who ask critical questions that matter, and who take risks to find answers.

Added value for workers:

  • Many part-time, freelance, or temporary work opportunities are available, often leading to contract or long-term positions.
  • Thanks to advanced computing technology, work can be done virtually or remotely, and/or through various online platforms (Etsy, Upwork, etc.).
  • Freelancers have the opportunity to choose their next gig from among a wide array of global projects.
  • Freelancers can establish work-life balance by setting their own hours while gaining diversified experience on a global scale.
  • Freelancers can utilize their strengths by selecting jobs they are best suited for and genuinely interested in.

Added value for employers:

  • Employers can select the most qualified talent from a larger pool of uniquely talented professionals.
  • Employers can receive brand expertise on demand.
  • Employers can save costs related to office space, training, and employee benefits while offering valuable contract opportunities to meet bottom line goals.
  • Employers can enjoy increased efficiency and productivity by employing gig workers who use streamlined processes.

My Personal Venture into the Gig Economy

In 2013, I launched my virtual career consulting firm, Creative Horizons Communications, determined to fully embrace the gig economy. I discovered new ways of working while enjoying more growth, creativity, and flexibility. Through membership in CPC, I capitalized on online learning opportunities to complete my Certified Résumé Strategist and Certified Employment Strategist designations, taking my expertise and business to the next level.

Today, I’m leveraging the opportunities afforded by the gig economy and fulfilling my passion to help clients meaningfully align their purpose with their career goals and needs.

Our Role as Career Development Professionals

As career professionals, we can prepare and educate our clients/job-seekers to understand the dynamic world of work and their role in it. Effective strategies and tips for how we might help include:

  • Encourage your clients to remain flexible and open-minded in their attitudes to change. Help them translate challenges into opportunities.
  • Support clients in redefining their brand in the gig economy and driving career growth by leveraging their relationship-building skills, creativity, and interests.
  • Help your clients set short-term and long-term career goals aligned with their values, and with economic and market changes.
  • Suggest to clients that they conduct thorough research before applying to positions.
  • Coach your clients on reframing their perspectives about the gig economy, particularly the way they think about job security and stability. Show them strategies for proactively managing their careers.
  • Provide clients with helpful, updated resources on labour market trends and career developments via ESDC and other valuable sites.
  • Help your clients to identify new ways of working and to find solutions to challenging problems that organizations are facing.
  • Encourage your clients to embrace this new world of work. It can offer many exciting opportunities. Regardless of the kind of work we do, we can all learn valuable lessons by studying the rise of companies such as Uber and Airbnb who have embraced the gig economy as the very foundation of their operations.

While our world of work keeps changing, rewarding career opportunities are available for those who have a clear focus, conduct due diligence, and are driven to innovate, take risks, and fuel continuous improvement.

Stay up-to-date on new career developments by taking the career transition consulting course or other CPC certifications. Let’s continue to drive positive change!

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

 

Comments

  1. Lori, as always this is a well thought out piece that gives great information. I have always been influenced by Nuala Beck and her foresight into the New Economy, Knowlege Economy and High Knowledge jobs. I taught many career planning courses based on Excelerate in the earliest days of my career. Her wisdom shines through today in your article. Keep writing you do a terrific job seeing benefits for the employer and the worker.

    • Thank you, Gayle. Your feedback is appreciated.

      Thanks for drawing our attention to the valuable insights of Nuala Beck– “the Canadian guru of the transformation from the old economy to the new.” By leveraging a clear strategy as well as our strengths, doing our research on emerging trends and capitalizing on these developments, we can achieve success in the gig economy.

  2. Hi Lori,

    I enjoyed reading your informative article. I am wondering if there is really much of a cost savings for the organization by hiring freelance or gig workers, since they need to charge more than the typical salary rate for their services to compensate for benefits, training and professional development. There are definite cost savings to the employer regarding overhead expenses, such as office space. As the gig economy continues to evolve and grow, it will be interesting to compile and further analyze the data regarding the cost benefit analysis. One thing is for sure the typical employer and employee relationship, as well as how we work is being affected by technology on a global scale. The gig economy is here and we as career professionals, can educate our clients about how it can work for them.

    • Thank you, Elaine, for your helpful feedback and valid points.

      I think when it comes to hiring freelance or gig workers, the cost savings for the organization would really depend on various factors including the type of organization and culture, their practices/procedures, the nature of role, as well as compensation structure offered. Organizations can save probably 20%-30% by not having to pay out all the usual benefits. However, in order to retain the best talent, they will need to rethink their recruitment / retention strategy as well. I agree that ever-changing technology and AI is a trend that will continue to challenge how we think about work and navigate work relationships. As career professionals, we can coach our clients on leveraging their unique value and translating challenges into opportunities to keep promoting innovation and growth in the gig economy.

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