• 3 min read

Gig Work isn’t just for the Contingent Workforce

Recent research on the impact of the pandemic on the U.S. labor market points to dramatic shifts in attitudes and behaviors. The survey performed by Self.Inc suggests that economic hardship and anxieties over job security are causing millions of workers to re-balance their priorities.

It’s no secret that the number of people in the contingent workforce has ballooned over the last few years. Few people in business haven’t heard of the gig economy. Fewer still haven’t been touched by the challenges of finding talent to employ. Hiring (not employing) is today the go-to option for businesses to minimize risk and costs, while maximizing talent choice and the ability to react faster to unpredictable resourcing needs.

What we’re seeing now are individuals employed on full-time contracts jumping into a highly accessible gig working economy and exploring their options, honing their skills, and building up their CVs.

While a desire to find alternative or complementary sources of income is a major contributing factor, the pandemic is causing people to reflect on their life goals and values too. In the face of an unquestionably different economy, the rapid growth in contingent working opportunities is bringing more explorative opportunity within reach.

This is, at least in part, driven by the growing confidence workers have in the ability of micro-task platforms like UpWork, Fiverr and Toptal to deliver reliable income. These platforms allow people to ‘have a go’ at applying skills previously untapped by their regular jobs.

But ‘side hustle attitudes’ within the workforce are only one side of the coin. The major transition we’re seeing towards contingent working is also driven by a surge in gig working roles. Business leaders have become more comfortable with the notion of hiring. A contributor to this has been the evolution of Vendor Management Systems that are now more affordable, capable and provide a higher level of reporting transparency. Exec teams today are happier to operate a large contingent workforce in the knowledge it can be relatively painlessly managed with low operating risk.

Some 54% of Americans have side hustles and growing 

Even those in full-time roles are exploring their skills and seeing what opportunities exist to follow their interests; or see what they can do to gain income from secondary roles.

30% of Americans plan to quit their jobs once the pandemic is over

It’s unclear post-pandemic what appetite there will be within the workforce to commit to full-time roles exclusively. With many people working from home, even full-time jobs don’t come with the re-assuring emotional security blanket of step- ping into the office foyer after every morning commute and rubbing shoulders with lots of other folk with full-time jobs. Our world has become more individual, remote, and impersonal. Post-pandemic, it pretty much feels like everyone is going to have to learn to swim and save themselves.

How will this change what the contingent workforce looks like in the future? Will full-time jobs become the new side hustle? Let us know what you think below. And if you’re looking for a VMS solution to manage hiring and retain the best talent, sign up for a demo of SimplifyVMS and see how a modern VMS can help you.