The Realm Of Gig Economy

The buzz around gig economy is expected to bring transformational changes to traditional practices, as sticking to the same job for years will not be favoured by many in the future. With uberisation of the workforce, the dynamics of new age working population is fast changing, where virtual offices, flexi working and work from home have all found their place on their own terms. What happens then to the archaic structural changes to work? Do we adopt or collapse the established systems? Actually, quite the contrary, we build a better and a sustainable system from this disruption.

 

With the rapid growth in automation and integration of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace, employers across the globe and in India, have found it expensive and irrelevant to limit workforce engagement to the traditional employer-employee model. Organisations, both start-ups and larger companies, are beginning to value flexi workers – the skill meeting the demand workforce. Millennials and Gen X prefer to be their own bosses and the gig-based economy allows them to pick their preferred working hours and helps them to work on an entrepreneurial approach, build their own network, and, update their skills according to market needs and demand. It is an open talent economy which includes internships and full-time jobs. In addition to the monetary benefits, the freedom and flexibility have drawn millennials towards this model. However, flexi workers provide requisite experience and stability for Just In Time projects, helping to get the work done for the business. Flexi-staffing will not only help in reducing the uncertainty of unemployment for the job seekers, but also aid in getting the same security benefits as those of permanent job roles.

 

Prevailing challenges with the model  

 

With the sudden boom in this approach, the associated limitations to gig economy cannot be overlooked. According to TIME Magazine, freelance workers and contractors will earn 28 percent less than their regular counterparts. Besides, the major concern is over lacking employee benefits like pensions, sick pay, holiday entitlement or parental leave. Gig workers are yet to be covered under the purview of labour laws and changing employment dynamics as they are not a part of regular workforce. It may pose to be a major challenge in the long run, especially when they benefit employers in saving costs. Moreover, gig workers might face major issues in managing their career graph. After a certain point, they may feel lack of growth in their life, since there would be no hierarchy which can take them to promotions. It becomes very difficult to maintain the same discipline throughout, and, the chances of uncertainty increases.

 

However, on the contrary flexi-workers get all the benefits that a gig worker is deprived of, and, at the same time, flexibility is assured at any cost.  It is a model that benefits the employer and the employee. The staffing industry has created an ecosystem which provides flexibility, administrative efficiencies and flawless compliance for corporates to expand and grow in their business.

 

The way forward

 

The gig economy is on the path of a rapid explosion, echoing the desire of the population for the independence and ability to work on their own terms. There is always two side of the same coin, hence with this new opportunity comes many problems like payments, regulation, taxation, isolation, and data privacy. The gig workers do not receive employee benefits from the companies they work for. They have to juggle with multiple clients and may hamper their work. They also need to market and network themselves to find new work. Change leads to adaptability and brings a plethora of options to choose from, and, the decision lies in our hands to choose the best among the rest.

Suchita Dutta is the Executive Director, Indian Staffing Federation. She comes from a background of spearheading roles in marketing communications, technology and research for over 16 years in both private and non-profit sectors. Suchita is an alumnus of IIM Kolkata (Strategic Management), a Post Graduate degree in Mass Communication and an Honours Degree in Economics.

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