Uncover the tough decisions driving the Gig Economy and how businesses can redress the benefits balance.

A global talent crunch, an ideological shift towards greater work/life balance and the need for an on-demand workforce. The combination of these emerging trends has been driving the growth of the gig economy for the past decade. Add in the COVID-19 global pandemic, and it’s clear to see why the gig economy has disrupted traditional workforce models and will continue to transform the face of tomorrow’s labour market.

Where traditionally businesses have focused on recruiting and retaining employees, our latest research shows that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a rapidly increasing adoption and acceptance of contractors in our workplaces. To keep pace with dramatically evolving market conditions employers need access to talent on a more flexible and on-demand basis. While at the same time, workers have sought greater control of their careers; from the hours they work to the values they seek from an employer.

The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic potentially changes the landscape as it has exposed the potential vulnerability of people working in the gig economy. It will be interesting to see whether this accelerates potential legislation essentially affording gig workers more labor rights and protections, or indeed whether the autonomy and flexibility gig work offers becomes less appealing, particularly as the anticipated economic contraction takes effect. The current crisis has forced many employers to adopt a temporary remote working model; it will be interesting to observe whether this may permanently challenge employers to offer their workforces the flexibility and support they crave. For some, it will test the suitability and sustainability of the support they currently provide, in a way we have never seen before.

Whilst there are challenging times ahead, economies will recover and in order to survive and thrive businesses will need to be agile. What the labor force looks like post COVID-19 is unclear but it will inevitably include both traditional employees and gig workers. The challenge for employers will be to ensure that all stakeholders feel engaged having both the flexibility and security they need. A people approach based on equality and meritocracy will be vital to the ongoing success of a business.

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