By Billy Cripe, CMO of Field Nation
Technology has reshaped the workplace as on-demand and on-site companies have proliferated. The gig economy — markets that match providers to consumers on-demand — and the contingent workforce have challenged the traditional definitions of employment. It is changing the way work gets done, and macroeconomic forces are helping workers drive this change. There has been much attention from the media and the legislature surrounding it, trying to understand what the growing gig economy means for the future.
The empowered contingent workforce powers the gig economy. This labor force — comprised of freelancers, independent contractors, and temporary contract workers — were encouraged to make the change from traditional employment to this class of work with macro factors like the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Field Nation and Future Workplace study on the gig economy revealed that the ACA helped leverage the gig economy growth by decoupling benefits for full-time employees, and the growing demand for the contingent workforce. The study found that 68% of HR decision-makers believe that the ACA will have a high impact on hiring more freelance workers, and a had positive outlook for gig workers. In fact, 74% of HR decision-makers plan to contract more freelancers overall, and half of the HR decision makers in top performing companies plan to accelerate their freelance hiring rate by 30%.
While the ACA coincided with changes in the implication of a post-recession economy, freelancers have many reasons to leave traditional employment finally to pursue their passions by subscribing to a viable work model that’s expected to capture 40% of the American workforce by 2020. Not only did the ACA give workers a reason to cut ties with the traditional employment, but it also helped fuel an already lingering desire to pursue their passion. Freelancers from the gig economy study survey responded that they are very satisfied with their work; many freelancers cited that their satisfaction results from the fact that they have more control over their time, and they can use their skills on their terms. Over half of the respondents continue to see themselves freelancing in 5 years with 75% indicating that freelancing or small business ownership is more ideal than having traditional employment. These results are further supported by a recent Field Nation study, The 2016 Field Nation Freelancer Study, which surveyed freelancers who use the Field Nation platform.
Both studies reveal that the contributing factors for the gig economy’s rise are attributed to the flexibility and freedom gig workers have once they start freelancing, and their willingness to hold on to this work model. The gig economy study and the 2016 Field Nation freelancer study found that freelancers were very engaged since they are able to take ownership and responsibility for their jobs, and operate with a clear sense of purpose. Not only are they motivated to do well, but they also tend to be passionate about what they do. Whether it’s freedom to choose, freedom to work, or freedom to manage, the gig economy empowers workers to work on their terms and manage their own time instead of being confined to traditional regimented work hours and routines.
The gig economy challenges the traditional concepts and notions of work, and it is driven by motivated individuals who see the value in the work they do. As more people become freelancers, we can expect companies to build or build towards a framework that benefits employees and non-employees to stay engaged and collaborative.
This blended workforce is the future of work.