The recession of 2008 was, for a lot of people, the spark that ignited the need to make extra money to make ends meet. Due to redundancies coupled with the increased difficulty of finding employment, people turned to ‘gig working’ over the internet on website or app-based work platforms where they could earn money by doing one-off, odd jobs.
The Gig Economy is the name given to the uprising of freelancers finding work via specialised websites or apps aka ‘digital work platforms’ where they can get paid work (gigs) by selling their skills.
You could work in retail 9-5 but fancy doing some graphic design in the evenings. You could be a stay-at-home mum with a couple of hours spare to do some web design, or a retiree who wants to earn some extra money as a proof-reader. The number of these on-demand startups are growing quickly. Popular examples of these include: UpWork, Freelancer and PeoplePerHour
The market for gig economy platforms and related services will be worth almost £43billion globally by 2020 with £2billion in the UK alone forecasts consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers. However it’s still early days as by their estimation it only makes up a mere 2% of the total recruitment market.
In the UK, the number of self-employed people has increased to 4.7million, closing in on the number of people who work in the public sector which has decreased to 6.9million. According to the International Business Times, “87% of Brits see ‘gig economy’ taking over from 9–5 working days in 10 years.”
The Gig Economy is a trend that is gaining momentum at a significant rate with people who work for themselves becoming an economic force to be reckoned with. The rise of self-described ‘Entrepreneurs’ and people classed as Self-Employed has grown more in the last 8 years since the recession than in the 30 years previous.
The question is - Is the Gig Economy a threat to the recruitment industry?