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It often seems that not a week goes by without a news article or conference session discussing the effects of the gig economy.

Despite the buzz, a recent survey of over 2,000 Americans conducted by Harris Poll for the American Staffing Association shows many adults in the U.S. are confused by the term and aren’t sure how to describe the gig economy. Here are a few of the highlights from ASA’s Workforce Monitor® report:

  • 75% of respondents say they have never heard the term gig economy. However, adults age 18-34 (40%) and men (33%; compared to 19% of woman) say they have at least heard of the term.
  • Regardless of whether they were familiar with the term, 29% of Americans don’t know how to define gig economy, and 31% can’t identify specific types of gig work.
  • Perhaps not surprisingly, younger adults (49%) are more interested in gig work than older adults (17%).
  • 78% of Americans surveyed say the term gig economy is just a new way to describe nontraditional work arrangements that have been around a long time; similarly, 68% say it’s just a buzz phrase to describe types of work that have been around awhile.
  • 53% of respondents disagree that the U.S. will evolve to a predominately gig economy in the next 20 years.

What does this mean for the staffing and recruiting industry?

The ASA points out that even though many view the term gig economy as just jargon “it presents staffing and recruiting companies with the opportunity to engage in strategic discussions with clients and candidates, and continue to present themselves as thought leaders in the world of work.”

In fact, as business environments become more dynamic, organizations will rely more heavily on experts in the staffing and recruiting industry to design and develop new talent strategies.

The gig economy will also require staffing experts to respond rapidly to shifting work requirements and quickly source employees with the right skill sets. To thrive, talent acquisition teams will need to understand not only who can deliver those skills but how well they can deliver them.

Innovative technology solutions, like cloud-based reference checking and sourcing, are poised to help staffing and recruiting leaders address these needs by providing quality on-demand talent to meet their internal or client-specific needs.

These solutions can help you match skills more precisely to open tasks, reduce time-to-fill, apply uniform recruiting and hiring practices for better compliance, and easily scale to meet on-demand requirements.

You can learn more in our primer on the gig economy, Mastering the Gig Economy: What Every Talent Acquisition Professional Needs to Know.

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