Depending upon which article you read, the gig economy is either a booming sector that enables workers to achieve a flexibility and balance unavailable in traditional employment opportunities, or an industry in which participants struggle to earn adequate income and plan for their futures. The reality is likely a bit of both, depending upon individual gig workers’ background, expertise, and a variety of other factors.
While the pros and cons of the gig economy are not black and white, it’s evident that the trend is here to stay and is opening up avenues for new business opportunities. According to a 2018 report from Upwork, nearly half of Generation Z workers are freelancers and that number is only expected to grow as more individuals from the generation enter the workforce in the next five years.
Interestingly enough, the gig economy is also popular among older demographics. A Prudential Financial survey discovered that 31 percent of gig economy workers are baby boomers and 34 percent of those workers are retired. Forbes contributor Richard Eisenberg recently interviewed a gig economy expert at a workshop held by The Aspen Institute who believes that people 45 years of age and older “are where the gig economy is headed.”
As people of different backgrounds embrace the gig model, the need for platforms that enable workers to find employment opportunities will continue to grow. A quick Google search returns countless articles with the best sites and apps for gig work, and new platforms continue to emerge devoted to specific functions or types of workers (for example, women reentering the workforce after maternity leave).
While the benefits of these sites for workers are clear, it’s also important that the companies utilizing them to fill positions are able to easily find the right candidates for the job.
That’s where data science and, more specifically, predictive analytics comes into play. Companies can analyze information like performance metrics, productivity reports, and other workplace data to identify the skills most critical to success in specific roles and functions. Armed with this intelligence, they can then vet gig economy applicants against these critical skills and partner with a niche platform to target individuals with these capabilities.
For more on the gig economy and how industry players are tapping technology to help participants access paid time off and other benefits, check out this Fast Company piece.