By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist
The gig economy is the new world of talent. Organizations have to get used to dealing with the talent pool in the cloud
Gig workers are nothing new in the restaurant world. Every day, contractors on bikes and scooters deliver food for Uber Eats and DoorDash. But in a growing number of kitchens, contract workers now make the food, too. Pared and Instawork are providing gig workers to restaurants. Founded in San Francisco in 2015, Pared has more than 100,000 people signed up on its platform. A little under half a million people have signed up with Instawork. Pared has raised $13 million in venture capital, while Instawork has raised $28 million. Every sector is getting its equivalent of LinkedIn. Wonolo is used by retail & hospitality for on demand expertise.
A report by BetterPlace reveals that about 21 lakh blue-collared jobs will be created in India within the next 12 months because of the emergence of gigs and freelance assignments. About 14 lakh jobs out of the total projected job growth are expected to be in the gig economy. The logistics sector is likely to see an addition of about four lakh jobs while the demand for drivers in the transportation sector continues to rise with an expectation of six lakh jobs in the next year.
When LinkedIn started becoming a place for talent to gather, they triggered phase 1 of the talent market. It was a wide-spectrum talent market. Even in blue collar work forces like Urban Clap, it becomes a one stop shop to find all kinds of skills from plumbers to beauticians. Now we are seeing Phase 2. Talent Markets are going vertical. Expect to see a specialized marketplace for the most in-demand skills like beauticians.
Talent Acquisition for gig workers
While sourcing for full time work is done through career sites and employee referrals, gig workers are sourced either through a platform like TapChief or through referrals. With over $800,000 in funding, TapChief has more than 75,000 gig workers listed. They have delivered more than 20,000 gigs for startups as well as large MNCs like Unilever and Deloitte. Hiring full time employees with in-demand skills like Data Visualization often takes time. Unilever used TapChief to hire an expert gig worker to guide their team of 20 employees.
“Organizations must have a dedicated team of TA professionals to hire gig workers.” Founder and CEO of TapChief, Shashank Murali explains, “It is different from hiring a full-time employee because a gig platform may list the skills of the gig worker, but their availability is not known.”
Matching the gig to the worker
Five steps have to be kept in mind to work well with if the organizations have to use gig workers (some prefer to call them freelancers)
- The gig workers list their skills and portfolio on the platform. The organizations list their gigs.
- The organizations interview the gig worker to see if they have worked on similar projects or have the context of the industry. In some cases, the organization asks the gig worker to do a “sample” paid project to evaluate fit for the gig. Eg the gig worker may be asked to design a single screen of the app to evaluate the User Experience designer.
- The gig worker sends a proposal and fee which is evaluated by the organization. The timeline, cost and milestones are agreed upon.
- The organization initiates the legal contract and a fee advance. The gig workers often have a sliding scale of payments. Payments for gig workers are made based on milestones met. For every week or month of waiting for the payment, the organization pays an extra premium/ penalty to the gig worker.
- The gig worker is onboarded with the organization’s internal tools, processes and stakeholders as needed. The functional head and HR must together onboard the gig worker.
Gig workers may be a new phenomenon in the organized sector, but many sectors have worked with gig workers. Manu Wadhwa, CHRO – Sony Pictures Networks India speaks of the gig workforce of almost 200,000 people in media and entertainment. Everything from their payment systems to confidentiality clauses is different.
The gig workforce is growing especially in the white-collar jobs. A 2019 report by NobleHouse, a platform that connects businesses with skilled human resources talent, found that 73% of its respondents wanted to opt for freelance work over a conventional full-time job. A 2017 EY study on the “Future of Jobs in India” found that 24% of the world’s gig workers come from India.
a16z calls it the passion economy, where creativity and passion help creators make big bucks. They say, “Users can now build audiences at scale and turn their passions into livelihoods, whether that’s playing video games or producing video content. This has huge implications for entrepreneurship and what we’ll think of as a “job” in the future.”
“The top-earning writer on the paid newsletter platform Substack earns more than $500,000 a year from reader subscriptions. The top content creator on Podia, a platform for video courses and digital memberships, makes more than $100,000 a month. And teachers across the US are bringing in thousands of dollars a month teaching live, virtual classes on Outschool and Juni Learning.”
Digital transformation of organizations is often viewed as an overhaul of technology. Yet, the first step of the transformation lies in the leaders coming together and redesigning the organization while keeping the customer and the employees at the center. Keeping the employee at the center is a new behavior, organizations have not been used to. The gig workforce is going to change that because the lifespan of organizations is shrinking. Humans are living longer. Lifetime employment is already a thing of the past.
Working with open-talent system of gig workers will need specialized talent acquisition teams. New processes in every department from legal contracts to accounts payable will be needed. New technology that makes it possible for the gig worker to give his or her best need to be created. Experts already find that they make more money through gig work while having the flexibility of hours and the freedom to choose the projects they wish to work on.
Talent is going boundaryless. Human Resources teams have to accept that most in-demand skills may not be on their payroll but in the cloud.