The lights go down and the crowd goes wild. You hear the crowd cheering your band’s name. Matt is on drums, Nick is on guitar, Lexie is on bass, and you’re the lead singer. The adrenaline is flowing through everyone’s veins as the opening song is about to play. You catch your breath and get ready to sing your heart out. As you approach the mic, the spotlight shines on you. The crowd goes even more wild. You have a gig tonight!
What’s a Gig?
The term gig is nothing new. It has typically been thrown around in terms of music gigs. (Remember all the high school battle of the bands?) Gigs are now being used as a term that relates to freelancing, such as makeup artists. This is the foundation of what makes a gig economy. According to Forbes, gig economy refers to “creating an income from short-term tasks”. Think: Uber drivers, wedding photographers, and DoorDash food deliverers. Those who participate in these sorts of jobs are called gig economy employees, or as some like to call them, gigsters. These folks can even find themselves working for a short period of time in different established companies.
I personally have found myself in a somewhat gig economy position. A few years ago, I worked at Nordstrom as a seasonal, part-time sales associate. AKA I was only working during their Anniversary Sale and during the busy holidays. Once things at the store slowed down, my job there was done. I was “re-hired” for the same position on multiple occasions when I was needed. I specifically remember having extensive training on internal theft. Every time I purchased something from Nordstrom while I was an employee, my shopping bags and receipts had to be checked by security. The reason is because historically, theft in retail stores comes from employees. This is especially true with part-time and/or seasonal employees since they tend to not have as much loyalty as full-time employees. Because of this, I was fascinated in finding out how other employers felt towards hiring gigsters. I used the GroupSolver® platform to reach 125 full-time professionals — who have hired or approved of hiring employees — to share their thoughts and opinions on this subject.
Hiring a gigster has its perks
Through the study, I found that there was a mostly positive experience with hiring gig economy employees. In fact, of the 66% respondents who have hired gigsters, 89% are willing to hire them again in the future. Even more specific, 92% of these employers felt that their expectations have been met. This shows that hiring gig economy employees has the potential to become even more common practice if there is an increase in positive experiences.
When asked how their experience with hiring gigsters was like, the overall consensus was that these employees understood the assignment and produced quality results (85% support strength). Another interesting finding was that the employers felt that they worked in a timely manner (81% support strength) and were self-motivated (79%). What this could look like for employers is that if they need extra hands for a specific task or project, hiring a short-term employee may be a good option since they tend to work well and do what is assigned properly. They may be a nice alternative for companies who have limited funds but do need the extra help during a specific period of time.
Question: Describe in a few words or sentences your experience with a person you hired as a gig economy employee.
Every story has two sides
While I found mostly positive feedback from this study, it is still important to note the reasons why someone is reluctant to hire gigsters. These unsure employers mostly felt like they are in need of permanent employees, so short-time employees are pretty much out of the question (81% support strength). Some other sentiments included the need to have stability (77% support strength) as well as loyalty (75% support strength). This ties back to my experience at Nordstrom. While Nordstrom definitely needed the extra manpower during their busy sales times, they recognized the lack of stability and loyalty from their seasonal, part-time employees. Clearly, sometimes you have to risk it!
Question: What holds you back from hiring a gig employee in the future?
Gigsters may be the new face of the workforce
Perhaps what I am most fascinated about gig economy is what it means in relation to the future workforce. Will all companies start hiring gigsters? Will there be more short-time than full-time employees? Or will gigsters become obsolete? Most respondents believed that gig economy employees may start getting involved in jobs such as home services (77% support strength) or grocery delivery (73% support). I found even more interesting how some respondents could see gig economy jobs in marketing (51% support strength), nursing (47% support strength), and engineering (39% support strength). Basically, the possibilities are endless! I personally believe that there will be a rise with a lot of personal beauty and health related services, such as hair stylists or personal trainers who come to your house. But, probably the biggest takeaway from the responses to this is that there was 73% support strength towards the phrase: “they are flexible”. Being flexible could be crucial to gigsters’ success. Customers want things their way during their time, so if an employee is flexible, both parties will be happy.
Clearly, gigsters are nothing new, but they certainly are becoming more and more prominent in the work space. I do believe that more employers will begin hiring gig economy employees, but I do not think that full-time employees will no longer exist. I think that there will be more of a mix, which may actually help bring along diversity and different ideas. That would be a definite plus in this innovation economy. I am interested to see if marketing, nursing, or engineering indeed become the next gig economy jobs and how gigsters shape those jobs. So, would you hire a gigster?