You are probably asking yourself what the Gig Economy is. There are various answers that we’ve uncovered but according to Forbes Magazine it’s a model to describe where the future of work is heading. It is a hub where people don’t rely solely on one employer or job to pay their salary but rather on a number of different projects, contracts, tasks or “gigs”.
Although buzzwords such as contingent workers, on-demand workers, and short-termers have been around for a few years, never before have there been so many people creating a network of talent hubs throughout the world by being “non-employer” businesses, i.e. they only employ themselves.
Related: Hiring: the when, where and how
It is now possible to sell thousands of products without needing any workers to create or distribute them.
According to a recent study done by Elance-oDesk, the American workforce is now 34% freelance. A startling number considering this works out to about 53 million people.
Is South Africa ready for a Freelance Economy?
It is and it isn’t. There are businesses in South Africa that have their finger on the global freelancing pulse, but often end up using international “giggers” for projects, due to the lack of access to freelancers locally.
Says Roy Clark, MD of Clarkhouse Human Capital: “In a few years time 20% of full time positions will be obsolete due to smart algorithms and technology that can do particular jobs more effectively and more efficiently than people. Companies will be leaner and full time employment will be a thing of the past.
However there will be a huge demand for talented freelancers to come together from all over, be it virtually or in person, to complete tasks on a project- by-project basis.
Companies such as Part-up in The Netherlands talk about “crowd-organising your flexible workforce” which involves creating “part-ups” for short-term team collaborations and “tribes” for the long term collection of “part-ups”.”
This may seem like a far off concept but it’s just around the corner and the South African workforce will start demanding these types of opportunities rather than permanent employment.”
What does this mean for your career?
It means flexibility, ownership and independence as well as a balanced life, personal development and more opportunities to learn. It means self-marketing, self-promotion and networking. It means becoming an expert in what you are passionate about and marketing yourself as such.
It may however also mean the erosion of basic labour law protection as well as the comfort of company medical aid, provident fund and a consistent salary becoming a thing of the past. Both positives and negatives will stem from a freelance economy, but one thing is for certain, it’s happening and it’s happening fast.
Partner with the correct human capital business or platform to grow your career for future success in a Gig Economy.
What does this mean for your business?
Businesses are already turning to alternative solutions to full time resources. Whatsapp for example employs only 55 full time people and was bought out for $19 billion.
A startling example of the power of crowd-sourcing projects. This also means that positions such as human resources practitioners and learning and development managers will be replaced by roles such as outsourcing project coordinator, crowd-sourcing manager and project implementer.
Related: 10 businesses you can start part-time
This will fundamentally change a company’s organogram and culture as well as management and human capital as we know it.
The Gig Economy is a mind shift change from what is comfortable and familiar to what potentially could be. It is building your own personal brand and sharing that with like-minded individuals and companies. It is the future of human capital.