Older workers — not millennials — are driving the gig economy
- Around 79% of executives think hiring contractors will give them the agility they seek, according to research from Mavenlink, a cloud-based software provider. The study, The White-Collar Gig Economy: On-Demand Workforce Trends According to Today’s Business Leaders, suggests that there's a growing, universal demand among businesses for gig workers, and that older, seasoned white-collar workers — not millennials — are driving the change.
- According to the study, hiring on-demand workers allows businesses to adjust their staffing levels and access a wider, more specialized talent pool without a large financial investment. Key findings in the study show that 94% of executives plan to expand their use of skilled contractors for specialized roles and 47% of business leaders said they want to hire contractors for management, senior executive and C-suite roles.
- Although executives favor hiring more gig workers, most organizations (69%) don't have the support mechanisms and policies in place to manage them, and 77% said they don't comprehend the changes required to manage those workers.
By 2020, about 50% of the workforce may be contingent, according to some estimates. And on-demand talent could very well make up the majority of the workforce in less than a decade.
But what's interesting about the Mavenlink study is that millennials aren't driving this increase; instead, older workers are leading the change. While millennials are frequently noted as favoring flexibility, contingent work benefits have skewed toward those with more skills and work experience; in some cases, it is seen as a benefit, rather than just a way of working. And as more employers embrace flexibility as a way of life, especially as talent becomes increasingly difficult to find and retain, they may need to shift their cultural view of productivity.
Organizations opting to hire contingent workers should ensure systems are in place to track those workers appropriately. Few workplaces put such staffing under HR, but that may have to shift as requirements around gig workers changes.
For example, Congress and state legislatures are looking at ways to regulate these arrangements. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing in early September on the federal government's role in the gig economy. More lawmakers have been turning their attention to portable benefits, including retirement savings, in an attempt to create better protections for contract workers.