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Exploring the phenomenon that is the Gig Economy

The Gig Economy can be defined as an environment in which companies enter contracts with freelance workers for specific and often short periods of time.

In many ways, the Gig Economy has existed for years. In a report published in May, 2015, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) noted that more than half of the jobs created since the mid-1990s have been in non-standard work.

The rise of the Gig Economy in recent times has been influenced significantly by the recent economic recession. With companies struggling to adjust to the new economic climate, full-time contractual employment became difficult to provide.

Still requiring the manpower and expertise to operate, employers began turning more to short-term contracts. This allowed them access to skillsets without having to commit to a permanent hire, and to spread the cost of the hire across the lifetime of a project.

The benefits to the employee have become a matter of debate. Supporters say it allows more people to participate in the labour market. They say it offers a far greater work/life balance by making workers their own bosses who can accept jobs when they please.

Others criticise the system for not providing elements such as sick and holiday pay, medical cover and job security to the employee.

While opinion is divided, the prevalence of the Gig Economy cannot be denied. A report by the Mkinsey Global Institute suggests that up to 162 million Europeans and Americans engage in some form of independent work.

The study said 30 per cent choose independent work as their primary income, 40 per cent utilise it to top up their income, 14 per cent use it reluctantly and would prefer a traditional job, and 16 per cent work independently out of necessity.

Millennials naturally enjoy the freedoms contract work offers. Raised in the digital age, they are best positioned to take advantage of the significant job offerings now available online. The fact that a lot of this work can be undertaken remotely allows them to choose not only when to work but where from and how often.

However, the interesting thing is that the Gig Economy appeals to people across a wide age spectrum.

Students earn extra cash while at university without having to over commit; parents cut out childcare costs by working from home; older adults work part-time if they so wish; retirees can continue to work at a pace that suits them. The prospects offered do appear endless.

What is certain is that the Gig Economy has successfully blurred the lines between the personal and professional, altering the traditional employment process dramatically, and with the potential to continue to expand its influence even further in the years to come.

If this appeals to you please contact us at HERO Contracting on 091730022 to hear more!

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