What does the gig-based workforce of the future look like?
The gig economy is on the rise in Industry 4.0, with there being an increasing demand from both workers and employers for flexible and autonomous work. The rise of digital talent platforms has driven the increasing prominence of the gig economy, with this helping to address imbalances in the labour market and supporting jobs of the future.
Companies must remain in tune with the changing nature of the workforce, as the gig economy presents them with an opportunity to develop a fluid workforce, access hyper-specialised talent, enjoy cost savings and supercharge productivity.
Solutions offered by a gig economy
The current labour market is fairly dysfunctional, with a large proportion of employees feeling out of touch with their current roles (translating to wasted productivity and innovation). The gig economy helps to connect those with money but no time and those with time but no money to provide mutual benefit, allowing people to excel in an area they truly feel passionate about.
The gig economy is also shedding light on the availability of future jobs and informing the decisions of young people today. According to the Foundation of Young Australians, nearly a third of young Australians are currently unemployed or underemployed, and entry level roles for young people are fast disappearing. By reshaping their understanding of potential future careers, young people can better gauge what education they should pursue in order to remain employable in an increasingly gig-based economy.
All of this means that offering flexible working arrangements is integral to business success in Industry 4.0. At present, Hays figures show that a third of professionals identified flexible work as being critical for remaining employed, with this number being set to grow in the near future. Millennial workers, who will soon comprise the majority of the workforce, are increasingly seeing flexible work as a given. Younger workers are more open to the idea of shifting from one contract or project to another as well as sharing and collaborating online.
As cities and global communities continue to change, a greater diversity of employees are seeking flexible work. This includes those who:
- Have to live further from the CBD due to housing unaffordability and population growth
- Have long-term caring responsibilities
- Are transitioning back into the workforce after parental leave
- Are easing out of full time work towards retirement
- Are pursuing further education or skill development
How can employers build a flexible work culture?
Employers are now tasked with supporting flexible work while also maintaining productivity and skill building. Here’s some considerations to bear in mind in order to integrate gig workers into your team.
- Go over the flexible work benefits you can offer
Before launching into a new model of hiring, it’s well worth reviewing what the extent of the flexibility you can offer. Some options include remote working (either from home or a different office to the usual point of operations), non-traditional work hours, and job sharing. Any flexible option offered to an employee or contractor should be done with overall business goals in mind.
- Implement a freelance management system
Talent must be viewed as a strategic investment, and there specific techniques need to be put into place to manage external talent. Some questions to explore include how your company can sift through the massive pool of talent, what compensation you should offer, how to align freelancers with the company’s mission and culture, and how much training and induction should be provided to freelancers.
- Assess remote work arrangements
Remote work applications should be easily accessible to employees by way of a transparent assessment system. This includes going over the operational requirements of the job, if there is a need for any in-person meetings, and whether particular project deliverables would suit a flexible work arrangement, to name just a few considerations. Your company must also be properly equipped to support flexible working by having the right online collaboration tools, meeting technology and the right software and hardware systems, as well as a robust and inclusive work culture.
- Capitalise on the opportunities for SMEs
If you are the head of an SME, the gig economy offers your business even greater opportunity to succeed. According to a Hays survey, 43% of employers believe smaller companies have an advantage over larger ones in offering flexibility to employees. Due to their agility, SMEs offering flexible work can attract talent that larger companies may not be able to do as effectively.
- Provide the same opportunities to remote workers
Remote workers should never feel like they are missing out on promotion and upskilling opportunities that may be available to their 9-5 counterparts. Digital communication tools can be used to promote professional development and training among your remote team, and there should be a constant focus on upskilling all members of the team in order to propel your company further.
The emerging technologies of Industry 4.0 have made flexible working arrangements a non-negotiable for many workers, and provide businesses with a fantastic opportunity to build a dynamic and diverse team. Is your business prepared to take advantage of these opportunities?
Ai Group Talent Solutions help businesses prepare for Industry 4.0 with training and upskilling programs. If you are looking to develop a robust team or otherwise future-proof your business, contact Ai Group Talent Solutions today. You may also wish to read our report on The Emergence of the Gig Economy for further data and analysis.
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