We all know what the ‘gig world’ means! The gig economy or the freelance world or the ‘on-demand economy’ where individuals and organizations hire freelancers for short-term projects and services is propelling industries with tremendous opportunity.
The predictions are that the gig economy is expected to represent more than 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2027. The gig economy has not only turned millions of Americans into contractors, but it has also given the more successful entrepreneurs the tools to grow even faster. As per a recent study by Mastercard and Kaiser Associates, the global gig economy is capitalizing on a $500 billion opportunity.
However, there are lots of myths when it comes to gig workers and the new freelance world. Let us try to explore them and see if these are worth dispelling.
Myth 1: Only Millennials love to gig and are smitten with gig work
The freedom to do your work the way you like’ makes the gig world quite attractive when it comes to the newer generation. As the gig economy is undoubtedly attractive for young minds who do not want to stay limited to one type of work or company or place, many millennials are reckoning with the urge to join the gig world. However, many surveys highlight that the number is not as high as it is perceived. Around 60% of millennials born between 1981 and 1996 were not involved in the gig economy at all and the percentage of millennials with full-time careers is rising from 45% in 2016 to 66% - a trend that was seen till last year. On the contrary, the other generations are seen equally or rather more enthusiastic about joining the gig force. In fact, when it comes to people over the age of fifty, the expression of interest is on a much higher side to become more independent which is evident through the applicants who uses gig platforms.
Myth 2: Freelancers are taking work away from full-time employees
The influx of gig workers and the immense opportunities it is creating in the future of work is creating whispers to the assumption that freelancers are set to take work away from full-time employees. However, these assumptions and claims aren’t real and factual. Ms. Navneet Kaur – Manager HR of Emaar MGF Land Ltd very correctly expresses that ‘Freelancers are free-spirited professionals who decides to go for a less traversed path by following their own passion and have a high appetite on risk-taking abilities’. There is hardly any logical co-relation while comparing gig work with full-time work as both are just two different things. All progressive leaders love to work with full-time employees and gig workers side by side. It doesn’t need to be a zero-sum game. Everyone can do their part and still have opportunities to grow.
Myth 3: Freelancers don’t produce quality work
In fact, gig workers are a breather in the majority of knowledge-based projects which calls for a higher level of skill and experience. They tend to be focused and overtly goal-oriented. The reason may be attributed to the way they operate – a small, self-contained business, which makes them strongly motivated to deliver lasting results. After all, their reputation depends on it totally. There are multiple reasons why more and more companies are turning to on-demand talent to fill expertise gaps on specific projects and during periods of growth and transition: they mostly tend to produce quality work with lasting results. Mr. Viney Kaushik, CHRO of Nuberg Engineering Ltd. rightly states his experience of working with gig workers. He says that ‘I have roped in gig workers for some of my organization’s work in the past. I find them more invested in handling complicated projects with ease owing to their domain expertise that results in good quality of deliverables. Additionally, they always bring in a fresh perspective that helps to enhance the organization’s performance level.’
Myth 4: Freelancers can’t work with a company’s proprietary information
This is the biggest myth and the most difficult perception to deal with when it comes to sharing confidential and proprietary information with the outside expert whom we call the gig workforce. In fact, many progressive leaders who bring in more gigglers to their workforce create ways to meticulously integrate the expert resources keeping the confidentiality angle in mind. One can very precisely and thoughtfully knit their internal guidelines that make the process and system legally full proof when it comes to dealing with proprietary data. Such artificial boundaries are slowly fading away.
Myth 5: Freelancing isn’t a long-term career path
Lack of skilled talent is a much bigger headache for all companies in many countries. With historical employment challenges in various countries, the numbers of suitably qualified people in the talent pool to hire becomes a challenging affair. This has a direct correlation with the gig world which solves the problem of domain experts that are made available on the go in case of need. So, the Gig model of work shall continue to play a significant role in the job market in the future and can be worked to have a long term career path.
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