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The Real Gig Economy: Facts Every Employer and Job Seeker Should Know

The way we get work done in Middle TN has changed – dramatically!

Just a few decades ago, terms like “the gig economy” didn’t even exist. Today, individuals with alternative work arrangements represent a significant portion of our nation’s workforce. And that number is growing by the week.

So, what’s the real story with the gig economy?

Gallup recently published a whitepaper titled “The Gig Economy and Alternative Work Arrangements” that’s packed with facts every employer and job seeker should know about today’s gig economy. Below, we’ve summarized a few key takeaways:

  • The gig economy, defined. Gallup’s definition includes multiple types of alternative work arrangements: independent contractors, temporary employees, online platform workers, contract firm workers and on-call workers. The definition is broad and covers nearly every type of worker that’s not in a traditional, long-term employee-employer relationship.
  • Alternative work arrangements are gaining popularity. Although most U.S. workers still have one full-time, traditional job, Gallup estimates that:
    • 36% are connected to the gig economy in some way.
    • 29% have an alternative work arrangement as their primary job (including 24% of all full-time workers).
    • As many as one in 10 workers splits their time between their traditional employer and gig work.
    • Baby boomers participate at higher rates than younger generations. Roughly one in three baby boomers has a gig as their primary job, while only about one quarter of millennials (26%) and Gen Xers (27%) have full- or part-time alternative work arrangements.
  • Technology is an enabler. Technology has allowed individuals to have flexible income when they need it – whether it’s through a side gig, a short-term opportunity or something full-time. As this flexibility increases, people are developing alternative ways to piece together a work life that suits them, through a variety of income sources.
  • Good for employers – and their workforce. For employers, intentional use of gig labor enables HR leaders to scale their workforce according to seasonality, workflow, project and customer demand. On the flip side, alternative work arrangements allow employers to support their core team’s need for flexibility and desire for work/life satisfaction.
  • Ongoing legal challenges. Legislation involving worker classification continues to evolve and presents both complex challenges and serious financial consequences for employers that do not properly classify and compensate gig workers.
  • Sense of connection. Not surprisingly, gig workers tend to have fewer work relationships. Employers dependent on the gig talent pool have a heightened responsibility to: communicate culture, values and expectations; foster effective relationship-building; check in with gig workers to ensure they are meeting their needs;  and make gig workers feel like a part of their work team.

Are you maximizing the benefits of today’s gig economy?

Whether you’re an employer in need of staffing support, or a job seeker ready to take the next step in their career, Wood Personnel is ready to help. Throughout Middle Tennessee, we connect good people with the right opportunities in ways that benefit all parties in the employment equation. What can Wood do for you? Contact our Nashville staffing agency, or your local Wood office, to learn more about temporary and contract staffing and work options.