To gig or not to gig? The rise of NextGen work

To Gig or not to Gig? The Rise of NextGen Work
From Uber drivers to handy cleaners, the gig economy is growing. In fact, research has found that the number of people working on a gig basis increased by 27% more than regular, full-time employees over the past 20 years. This is having a substantial effect on the jobs market.

On one level, this growing ‘shared economy’ means there are more employment options and a broader horizon for workers. So, increasingly, people are joining the on-demand market by choice, rather than in response to a crisis or the loss of a traditional, full-time, permanent job. But is working this way good for employees? And why are increasing numbers of workers choosing to work in this way?

The upsides to NextGen working

Most people taking on these NextGen jobs work for themselves. They choose when and where to work – and when not to. While some individuals prefer jobs with regular hours, NextGen workers value flexibility and control over their work schedule. So much so, that many NextGen workers say they prefer their gigs to working regular hours as a full-time, permanent employee.

People want different types of careers at different times in their lives. Our research has found that 87% of people would consider NextGen Work for their next job, or in the future. And employer demand for NextGen Workers has risen consistently for decades too. Across the EU, temporary work almost doubled from 8% to 14% between 1984 and 2016.

If the 9-5 isn’t for you, have you considered alternative ways of working? Lots of people have, and here’s why:

Boost my bank balance

The most popular reason candidates choose NextGen work is to earn extra money, supplement their income and do the things they choose. 65% of households in developed countries were earning the same in 2014 as they were in 2005 – and the recession, automation and low productivity continue to impact wages around the world. So, for many, NextGen Work helps to boost salaries, savings or pensions, so people have the time and money to do the things they value most. For others, NextGen Work allows them to use in-demand skills and earn top dollar for highly skilled contract positions.

Develop my skills

The second most popular reason candidates choose NextGen work is to learn new skills. 80% of NextGen workers see their job as a place to learn and use new skills. Whether formal company-driven development, on-the-job training, or experience-based learning – for most people, work is a place to hone and improve skills. In the midst of a Skills Revolution, acquiring new skills and experiences has never been more important to remain employable. It will be skills development too that helps the 19% who feel NextGen Work is their only option at the moment, to expand their employability and future choices.

Balance my time, feel in control

The lines between home life and work life are increasingly blurred. This means candidates are choosing more flexible work models that make it easier to manage and enjoy ‘One Life’. Globally, nearly 40% of people say flexibility – especially flexible start and finish times and the ability to work from home – is one of the top three factors when making career decisions. For many people, the ability to balance caring responsibilities can make the difference between working or not.

The NextGen worker is here to stay

Many individuals are now mixing together short-term jobs, contract work, consulting gigs and freelance assignments – and that number continues to grow. There is no doubt that the gig economy is the working world of the future. And, for many workers, the gig economy is a positive choice rather than a last-resort option in lieu of not being able to find more traditional employment.

As NextGen work continues to grow in prominence, business leaders and policy makers must collaborate to find the best balance of flexibility and responsibility. Benefits that were once tied to jobs, now need to be NextGen too – whether that’s certifications, pensions, training funds or something else. Leaders must enable, not prevent, NextGen work, and must be responsive to what people want.

It’s time to combine the choice and flexibility of new work models with the security of traditional work. It’s time to #GigResponsibly. Now is the time for NextGen work.

To learn more, download our latest whitepaper: #GigResponsibly – The Rise of NextGen Work.