recruiting in the gig economy

Recruiting in the gig economy: How a solid EVP gives you an edge

The meteoric rise of the gig economy around the world is being driven by the development of technology, which is enabling us to choose how, when and where we want to work. This opens the door to us operating as independent contractors, rather than being permanent, full-time employees of a single organisation.

According to a study by Gartner, gig workers represent approximately 15-25% of the global workforce today. By 2025, this figure will rise to 35-40%. There are strong signs that the gig economy has emerged in New Zealand, so it’s important to understand who makes up this new workforce. We also need to ask whether we’re ready for this new wave and what it means for businesses.

Gig workers can be classified into three categories:

  • Professionals – who offer specialist short-term work
  • Hobbyists – who love to share their passion
  • Casual workers – who supplement their income alongside a permanent job.

Technology advancements and freelancing platforms such as Upwork and People Per Hour have allowed gig workers to showcase their skills, find work, communicate and perform roles remotely via the internet. The effects of COVID-19 and the follow-on unemployment have also encouraged people to review their strengths and upskill, so they remain relevant in these changing times and find new, sustainable income streams.

Why hire gig workers?

Gig workers’ motivations range from wanting to fit their work around other commitments such as studying or caring for their family, to having careers that offer better pay, flexibility and varied challenges that come from working on a contract or freelance basis. They are also drawn to the autonomy that comes with working as an independent contractor and the attraction of being your own boss, which may not be achievable as an employee of an organisation.

As an employer, there are several strong benefits to hiring gig workers:

  • Employees are more motivated because they’ve chosen to accept a contract with you. This leads to better engagement, outcomes and productivity.
  • Skilled workers are readily available when needed – often at short notice. Because they are on-demand, you only pay when you need them, which makes this a financially sound option.
  • Building a strong network of gig workers means you can choose who you work with on various projects, rather than working with one employee, who may not have all the skills required. This means you can choose from a larger pool of talent, which offers different skill sets to suit your needs at the time.

Challenges recruiting in the gig economy

While these benefits are attractive, it can be challenging to find and secure workers who choose to participate in the gig economy. With the pressure of NZ’s changing labour market, brought about by factors like border closures, employers are experiencing a major shift in the current workforce.

Previously, employees needed to sell their skills and experience to potential employers to get work. Now, however, the roles are reversed; employers are increasingly finding they must prove their worth in the hopes of attracting high-quality staff.

Recruiters too have had to change their strategies by headhunting skilled workers, being more available to candidates and responding to applications more quickly. This fast pace and agile approach are attractive to participants in the gig economy.

Additionally, recruiters now need to actively promote organisations and their roles to candidates and ensure they’re including candidate requirements in their pitch – especially if it involves flexible working.

Do you have an EVP and GVP?

To attract highly skilled employees, employers need to review their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and develop their Gig Value Proposition (GVP). These are the unique benefits that employees receive in return for their skills, capabilities and experience.

An EVP and GVP define the essence of the company, describe how it’s unique and what it stands for. The goal is to give the organisation a competitive advantage when attracting talent.

It should also highlight their work environment, company culture, talent development pathway and rewards. They should also define what they offer gig economy participants that their competitors can’t.

Employers should seek guidance from boutique recruitment agencies that specialise in their sector, as they know the talent market intimately. As the workforce diversifies and the need to leverage different pools of talent grows, employers need to broaden their approach to rewards and benefits and think about how to attract employees. The one-size-fits-all model is no longer viable; rewards should be personalised.

Understand what makes gig workers tick

Having a good understanding of the changing economy and job market is important. More importantly though, employers need to be flexible so they can adapt and grow, just like their EVPs and GVPs. Creating an attractive EVP will help make their organisation a more desirable place to work.

If a business wants to attract the best talent, they need to keep up with the current market trends and understand how to appeal to the skilled talent they’re seeking. As technology specialists in the recruitment industry, Techspace can help you tap into the valuable pool of gig workers. Get in touch today to see how we can help.

About the author

Maarten Strijker

Maarten is a Candidate Manager at Techspace. He has a genuine passion for working across People, Culture and Technology and contributing to the ongoing improvement and growth of his candidates.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn or email him.

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