COVID-19 and its impact on gig working
Like every crisis that has come before, the current health situation has brought about a major shift in the way we live, and especially the way we work. The workforce model has been evolving and was seeing major changes in its structure, and the COVID-19 situation has accelerated this rate of change.
With shifting demographics, a fluid workforce, increased mobility, dynamic technology, and enhanced workforce expectations and engagement, the organizational landscape is evolving. The COVID-19 situation has brought in further changes to the way we work, and some of these changes might be here to stay. The biggest shift can be seen in the shape of the workforce with a rise in gigs and solopreneurship, with organizations enthusiastically embracing the gig economy, both globally and in India.
India is now considered to be the fifth largest country for flexi-staffing after the US, China, Brazil and Japan1.
Technology and its significance on gigs in these times
It looks like the age of hybrid careers is here. With the COVID-19 situation causing organizations to implement remote working, it has only strengthened the belief that this new way of working is the way forward. The key factor for this rapid change is the availability and access to the multitude of collaboration tools and technology that are enabling us to connect with teammates across the world, not just in office spaces, but right in their living rooms, or workstations at home. This seems to have strengthened the notion that work can be done from anywhere, not just in a cubicle. This highly connected environment forms the perfect setting for gig working to thrive.
The influx of technology and the internet of things have shifted the once unorganized sector of contract or freelance working into a digital and highly connected gig community. With multiple online forums and platforms for gig professionals to not just find gigs, but rate organizations, connect with peers and find niche roles that cater to their unique abilities, gone are the days when you applied for short-term roles via advertisements, job forums and email follow-ups. It is safe to say that the digitization of the gig ecosystem has made gig working accessible to all.
The change in dynamics in the way we work is giving organizations a new view too, as they see the benefits of a fluid workforce, including finding high-performing talent, cost savings, reduction in infrastructure costs and higher productivity, made easy by collaboration tools. So much so, organizations are now offering gig incentives and benefits almost on par with those available for a full-time role.
What the future looks like
Around 70 million people are expected to enter India’s labor force by 2023, including 59 million youth below 30 years2, making the pool of talent a large and diverse one. With more millennials joining the workforce, technology removing borders and the internet of things driving collaboration to new heights, working remotely has never been more popular and convenient. Hierarchy doesn’t seem to hold the same weight as it did before, and people are beginning to value skills more than the tag associated with a full-time role.
People are realizing, more so now with all the changes this pandemic has brought about, that gig working might offer them the mix of skill, work experience, flexibility and recognition that they have been looking for. It is no wonder then that taking on a gig role, or multiple gigs at a time is the popular new way of working. More gigs only means a growing portfolio of experience, and an opportunity to diversify one’s skillsets. This movement will continue to grow as companies shift from experience to skill-based hiring practices. It won’t be long before 50% of a team could well be gig professionals.
Gig working exhibits characteristics of what we anticipate is the future of work. There is no limit, no end point, no fixed direction and no dependency. This is what sets it apart and makes it a favored choice in these uncertain times.
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What is gig working?
A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagement. Gig working is designed to support freelancers and specialists who want the flexibility of a short-term contract with the high engagement, innovation, and diversity that large corporations offer. This also works as a two-way street – helping organizations and recruiters to tap into the large talent pool of skilled professionals who are not part of the traditional workforce, enabling them to engage with the right talent for the right opportunities at the right time. It’s win-win!
With access to world-class teams, ideas, learning, rewards and benefits, in a flexible work environment, a gig role opens a world of possibilities.
Benefits of gig working:
- Increased flexibility
- Enriched work-life balance
- Access to similar benefits, policies and learning as full-time employees
- Competitive salaries and packages
- Reach the right talent at the right time
- Option to try out multiple skills
- Gig Economy – Shaping the Future of Work: Invest India
- How the Lockdown in India Will Change the Face of Gig Economy
*Views are personal