Tapping into the new freelancer (gig) economy

With a new pool of talent, skills, freelancers and contractors becoming more accessible, clients are looking to better understand their options for tapping into these new resources.

Disruption or capacity building?

When it comes to ‘disruption’ Airbnb and Uber symbolise successful companies leading the way in redefining new ways companies, specifically in hospitality and transport can better shape, build and mobilise their workforce to deliver improved customer experience. They operate as part of the “online” gig economy, in which the workers are using new technologies, markets and platforms to provide alternative income streams.

With so many spin-off websites and companies popping up, there is little argument that “gigs” are growing in popularity with employees who are looking for new ways to work differently. Nearly 32% of the Australian workforce have worked in a freelance capacity in the past 12 months, yet we are still hearing from clients that they are trying to figure out if they should or how they should integrate them into their own businesses.

Economic drivers

There are several factors stimulating the gig economy, and the increasing number of people turning to freelancing opportunities to make their living. Commonly referenced, is the basic reality that current generations of workers, particularly millennials, are beginning to seek out and in some cases, only engage with businesses offering more flexible and autonomous workplaces.

Other, equally important elements increasing demand are:

  • People feel overqualified or disengaged in their existing roles,

  • the digital transformation of more traditional industries, and

  • companies structure more project based work more effectively paid on invoice compared with wages.

Delivering innovation and digital potential

Probably the most exciting opportunity for companies considering tapping into the freelance and contract talent pools is gaining access to increased business value from the ideas, innovative thinking, research and broader expertise candidates bring to the table.

Once the burden and challenge of company HR departments to implement best practice methods to attract, retain, and develop talent internally to drive performance and results; today, “gig” workers deliver desirable and relevant skills, are industry connected and generally bring a digitally savvy knowledge-base to businesses across a broad range of industries.

In our experience, agile, tech start-ups and budding entrepreneurs are finding it easier to understand and embrace the benefits of the new freelancing world. For larger, more traditionally structured businesses outside of the tech industries, there can be hesitation or reluctance to consider this style of resourcing, but here are four key benefits worth considering:

Dynamic workforce output – Stop putting key initiatives on hold because your existing teams are at capacity. Contracting gives you the ability to quickly bring in new resources, deliver projects efficiently and profitably.

More talent, improved costs – The new global marketplace for freelance talent provides access to an extensive, motivated group of professionals working at competitive rates.

Increased productivity – In the gig economy, accountability and performance determine a freelancer’s financial security driving timely delivering of projects.

Agile companies thrive – Hiring a full-time employee may not be possible or fit for purpose, whereas contractors need only be called on when the work is there.


If you would like to have a discussion on how a contracting option could improve your business, get in touch with Alastair Pennie