Global research into the use of contingent workers – those professionals engaged in the so-called gig economy – shows that their use is continuing to grow and that HR leaders welcome the trend.
The research, carried out in July and August by consulting firm Korn Ferry, showed that the percentage of contingent professionals working in organisations is growing and that the increase is set to continue.
Reasons, according to the survey, included cost savings, better access to high-calibre talent, and because gig economy professionals are easier to manage.
Three out of five (60%) of HR professionals said that, compared to three years ago, gig workers now make up a larger percentage of their professional workforce, and 42% said they plan to engage more contingent workers in the future.
Jeanne MacDonald, president of global talent solutions for Korn Ferry’s recruitment process outsourcing and professional search operation, said that organisations should proceed cautiously.
Gig economy resources
“As freelancers, consultants and contractors become more prevalent, it’s important to keep in mind that the gig economy will not replace traditional models of work,” said MacDonald.
“The key is to adopt a blended approach to talent acquisition and talent management, one that incorporates campus, contingent workers and full-time employees, and one that, in essence, makes the most business sense.”
Asked why their organisations used gig workers, survey respondents cited “access to resources for short-term projects” and “expertise we don’t have in-house” as the two main reasons.
Nearly half (48%) of HR respondents said that specialist gig economy professionals deliver a higher calibre of work than less specialised full-time employees; and 46% said engaging gig professionals actually saved them money.
“Effective organisations contract with people who have high-demand, niche skills, which allows them to complete unique tasks, and then move to the next company that needs their expertise,” said MacDonald.
“Don’t expect to pay lower rates for these skilled gig professionals,” she added. “While they may cost more per hour or per project than your full-time employees, they provide the targeted expertise that can help quickly resolve issues and get results.”
Despite many gig professionals working remotely, 67% of HR professionals said they were confident they know what workers were doing on a day-to-day basis, and 42% said they were easier to manage than full-time employees.
“Often, gig workers have the benefit of working with several different organisations and experience varying circumstances and situations,” said MacDonald. “They learn new ways of doing things, which can infuse new ideas in existing employees, bringing enhanced innovation and results for everyone.”