Surviving the Rise of The Gig Economy

Contracting isn’t a new thing in recruitment. But it is growing.

Right now across the world, across countries, states and land masses, wherever a work force exists, some of them are likely to be on contract.

That is, not permanent employees.

Normally, contractors work on a short-term and piecemeal basis. They exist to fulfil projects. To get things over the line. Upon completion of their task, their work is over. They leave the business. On to the next project.

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(Pros and) Cons

Candidates aren’t guaranteed a regular salary, or regular work, and late payments are an issue unto themselves.

But they can make more money. 

If you’re a candidate looking to earn more for doing the same job, giving up statutory holiday and sick pay is one thing to be mindful of when considering higher day rates.

With the right drive and support, there’s the potential to make significantly more money.

Although contracting can be a transient, lonely way to work. But with that comes avoidance of office politics and a diverse range of experiences in a relatively short time frame.

You can make your CV far fuller. Your bow much stringier. And hat, featherier.

The flexibility of contracting is one of the main reasons people consider it.

But with the positives emerges a new beast. The Gig Economy. Wrapped up as contracting, with a zero-hours, ‘work when you like’ mentality. In this act, you’re not a contractor in the truest sense of the word.

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The game’s changed

The gig economy is growing. And within that concern is the overarching discussion of what constitutes a contractor.

Independent MP Frank Field chairs the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee. Their report claims “the laws governing work in the gig economy are inadequate”:

“There is virtually no proactive enforcement mechanism to prevent workers being misclassified as ‘independent contractors’ and subjected to bogus forms of self-employment. The onus currently falls on individual workers to enforce the law.”

It’s closely linked to an issue we explored in an article on IR35 reform announced in November.

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How do you adapt?

Contractors are normally more consultative and more active in their talent pools.

For a start their interaction with recruiters comes about very regularly. They often move project every six months. Some industries, such as creative, will see that happen every few weeks.

And greater participation’s no bad thing.

As technology advances, you can expect to be more involved with your candidates and clients while an app does your admin. Or one day, a robot.

Until that day, your personal brand will rule. 

This is a subject we’ve written plenty of content on for Recruiters. And as markets drift away from name brands and towards individuals, personal branding’s going to be equally important for candidates looking to differentiate themselves in a crowded field.

Recruiters working on personal branding already are better placed to help their candidates.

But here’s the good thing… you are.

Your personal brand has nothing to do with social media. Unless you want it to. It may very well be just how you are on the phone. If that makes you money, and you can rely on it for years to come, great.

But that’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.

These days you have more opportunity. You have events. Instagram. Podcasts. Meetups. Meetings. LinkedIn.

We’re seeing more and more individuals think outside the box, to better serve their network. But those who are, know one simple truth. It’s THEIR network. The more active and vocal they are, the easier their life becomes.

Major Collective Launch

Major Collective

Hunted partner Major Players have seen a 30% rise in contract vacancies across creative, digital and marketing in the past year. Which is why they run Major Collective: a talent community of and for active freelancers.

“We feel more could be done to improve the working life of a freelancer and we want to show how much we value ours.”

Candidates working through Major Players on a minimum of three assignments are automatically enrolled and can start making the most of a host of perks.

“Our research confirms freelancers need a more consistent supply of work. A community of other freelancers and support from us to help their careers flourish. Whether that’s through networking and training opportunities or general career advice.”

Contractors are intentionally nomadic, moving from one project to another, financially patted on the back as they work with their favourite recruiters, increasing their commission, winning repeat business and longer contracts.

How much easier would your life be, if your contractors felt so supported, they took your work over others? How easy would that make your BD to new clients? How much more money would you make?

And as a result of this, how much happier would you be? Knowing you worked for a business that made you, and your networks’ life all the better.

How much better off would be, if you clicked this link?

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The future of recruitment

There’s a few rumours circulating that suggest recruiting into contract markets is going to become more difficult.

Being familiar with IR35 compliance and the rules and regs surrounding Brexit is likely to hold you in good stead. And if this is the way the world’s going, it means companies may well grow through different means.

Will it affect permanent hires? Will it alter the strategy for internal recruitment processes?

Maybe. But one thing’s for certain: the better you are at engaging people who feel consistently marginalised, the better you’ll be at future-proofing your career success.

Your network’s always been one of your strongest assets.

Operating effectively as a Recruiter in the gig economy is about activating and organising that network.

You can do that by fostering the growth of a physical community. Or by building a digital one.

Your platform will depend entirely on where your market interacts. But personal branding’s key to accessing talent in an ongoing way. So that when the right opportunities present themselves, you’re in the best position to act quickly and accurately.

Which will not only give you an edge over your competition, but you’ll see the dual benefit of being known for supplying an absolutely scintillating candidate journey.