By Steve Wolfe, Executive Vice President of Operations and Administration at Addison Group
The end of the 2009 recession and increased economic growth have brought about many changes in the workplace. One of these changes is an influx of contract workers in the workforce, who make up what is known as the gig economy. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of temporary employees has increased by more than 65 percent since the end of 2009. While this isn’t a new practice, hiring managers are increasingly looking toward ‘gig workers’ as an alternative to hiring full-time employees in certain situations.
Addison Group's recent workplace survey examined the current employment landscape, honing in on the state of the gig economy. The survey explores how the growth in temporary staffing is viewed among hiring managers and the three generations that make up today’s workforce--Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Some of the most notable findings included:
• Contract workers equate to money, time, and focus. The survey provided insight into why hiring managers are continuing to look to the talent pool of gig workers when filling jobs today. The three main reasons are: reducing the overhead associated with a full-time hire, a quick solution to under-staffing issues, and finding someone who can have a dedicated focus on pressing short-term projects.
• The gig economy is here to stay. The survey found 94 percent of US employees with hiring responsibility are more willing to hire a temporary contractor today than they were five years ago. This was solidified further with data that found 46 percent of hiring managers have hired a contractor in the past year alone.
• Senior-level contract workers are part of the gig economy. An overwhelming 88 percent of hiring managers have an increased willingness to hire senior contract candidates compared to five years ago.
• Full-time employees feel comfortable reporting to contract workers. As many Millennial employees have worked alongside contract workers throughout the bulk of their careers, the gig economy is becoming more widely accepted in today’s workplace. Further, the survey found that a majority of employees across generations, Millennials (58 percent), Gen X (58 percent) and Baby Boomers (56 percent), felt positively about working under a temporary contractor.
• Generational opinions differ on working for on-demand employment opportunities. The starkest discrepancy between generations was that 62 percent of Millennials and 59 percent of Gen X responded they were open to working as a contractor, yet only 44 percent of Baby Boomers agreed. Given that Baby Boomers grew up in work environments where employees almost never changed jobs throughout their career, it’s not surprising that temporary employment is typically not seen as a viable option.
The normalization of the gig economy marks a significant moment in workforce history. As the youngest generation is the most willing to work on a contract basis, there are serious implications for today’s workplaces. The on-demand opportunities will likely continue to increase over the next five-to-10 years as younger generations look for exposure to different opportunities across industries. This also impacts hiring managers because the future war for talent on both a full-time and contract basis will be equally as fierce. Companies must evolve to attract and accommodate the needs of employees. Additionally, finding a balance between contingent and full-time workers will be more critical than ever.
Visit addisongroup.com to learn more about the survey findings.