How often have you said or heard phrases like these recently? “Let’s see if there’s an Airbnb nearby and we’ll book for this weekend” or “When we land we’ll jump in an UBER and head straight there”, even better “Who wants a Deliveroo tonight?” The fact is that the ‘gig economy’ is now all around us and it’s not just sleeping in a stranger’s house and getting a lift. The gig economy is perforating all industries and traditional talent critical job roles from IT managers to accountants.

PwC predicts the Gig Economy could be worth $63BN around the world by 2020.

A recent PwC report suggests that just in the UK alone the gig economy is predicted to reach £2BN in the next couple of years. This has been identified as mainly due to the rise in on-line professional networking and freelancing platforms. We’ve also seen the rapid development of technology for conferencing, remote working and the ever improving global web platforms.

Statistical highlights from the PwC report include:

  • 31% of global business’ are building a talent strategy for an increased temporary workforce
  • 46% think that by 2020 a fifth of their workforce will be made up of contractors
  • 29 % of employees (globally) want a chance to take full control of their career

So what exactly is the “Gig Economy?”

Definition of gig economy from the Cambridge Dictionary & Thesaurus ©

Gig economy: Noun [C usually singular] a way of working that is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately, rather than working for an employer.

In comparison to the recent rise of the zero hour contract workers the gig economy workers have even less rights. No healthcare, pension, holiday pay, sickness pay and no legal right to minimum wage, they are in effect self-employed (employees).

For many companies expanding their workforce through the gig economy, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Saving money and having a truly flexible workforce that can increase and decrease dependent on the demands of the trading levels are putting many businesses at an operational advantage to their competitors.

For the gig economy employee we see even more confirmation of the Millennial preference for creating ‘Portfolio Careers’ providing the requirement for work / life flexibility without the traditional boundaries of location and time. Many Millennials around the world will be looking on inquisitively as the Baby Boomers now make their office retirement speeches, clutching their engraved carriage clocks, reflecting on their now extinct ‘job for life’.

How does this affect your future talent strategy?

  • Engagement

Your freelance workers are obviously going to have a transient loyalty to your organisation but care should be taken when engaging with your permanent employees. Absolute clarity needs to be given around development opportunities and transparent career conversations so that permanent people feel their skills are equally valued.

  • Tapping in to internal talent networks

The gig economy approach could be reflected internally by building a network skills base for short term or ad-hoc projects, matching skills to short term requirements. The talent network approach could be part of your development strategy used to expose people to other parts of the business and strengthen their skills.

  • Lightning fast pipelines

The agility of your pipelines will come under more and more scrutiny to keep pace with the business. For specialists operating in the gig economy such as project managers, IT engineers or senior management interims your strategy will need to match these instant requirements while still keeping focus on the long term strategy.

For more details on my approach to 4D Talent Coaching and how I can help transform your Talent Strategy please email Matt Williams, ‘The Talent Coach’ at

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