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World – Gig work becoming ‘new normal,’ Kelly research finds

27 March 2018

Gig work is becoming the new normal, according to the 2017 Gig Economy Talent Manager Research report released today by Kelly Services.

The report showed that 65% of talent and hiring managers who were surveyed stated the gig economy is rapidly becoming the new normal for how businesses organise work. Meanwhile, 43% of organisations engaging gig workers experience at least a 20% labour cost savings; 72% say using gig workers/free agent talent gives their team/organisation a competitive advantage. The majority, or 75%, of global free agents choose gig work for positive reasons, seeing it as a way to improve their personal and professional lives.

The report describes gig work as any engagement for which talent is paid for a discrete task, project or period of time. Dozens of terms fall under the “gig work” umbrella — from freelancers and independent consultants, to micropreneurs and independent contractors.

The research included a Workforce Optimization Maturity Index which provides insight into the maturity level with which firms currently leverage the gig workforce. Those that use gig workers less effectively than their peers are called laggards; those with stronger skills and commensurate benefits are competents and differentiators. The most-skilled organizations are innovators, which comprised just 13% of all companies.

Amy Anger, VP and global practice strategy lead, gig economy, for Kelly Services, commented, “The research shows that hiring gig workers is pervasive across regions and industries, but there’s still room for improvement. The majority of hiring managers say a flexible workforce will be a key way to differentiate and compete in the future, yet 39% of organisations are what we call gig-work laggards: they aren’t currently using gig workers heavily nor strategically.”

The survey was conducted online by Inavero on behalf of Kelly Services. It included more than 2,100 talent managers worldwide.

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