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[Article] Is the gig culture cannibalising traditional employment?

Discussion in 'Copywriting & Sales Persuasion' started by Ben Lebrau, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. Ben Lebrau

    Ben Lebrau Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hi BHW,

    I just finished writing an article about the gig culture in the UK. Feel free to copy it, use it, ammend it or whatever.

    I just wanted to get your thoughts on this whole trend. Would anyone go back to traditional employment?

    What are the benefits of the gig culture, do you see it as an inevitability or a progressive movement?

    This is in no way an advertisement or endorsement of my writing, just to have a discussion on this topic and get your thoughts. I've also ommitted references to ensure I'm not linking out to anything or promoting anything.

    Is the gig culture cannibalising traditional employment?

    Whether we like it or not we have seen a huge shift in the way we do work. It started with flextime – flexible working hours- as a way for fresh new companies to attract young talent and respond to the shifting demands of the new young employee workforce, potentially owing this trend to the now household name titans in silicon valley.

    “the share of flexible jobs that are open to considering flexible working generally has grown to 25% - up from 19% last year.”

    Flextime stats:

    - 63% of full-time employees already work flexibly in some way.

    - 87% of all full-time employees either work flexibly already, or say they want to

    - Younger workers want it most: 92% either work flexibly or say they want to.

    These flexible working hours, hotdesking qualities of a working environment are something a lot of us take for granted. Once we get used to it, would we give it up?


    The realisation for employer and employee has been: presence at work is not a substitute for job satisfaction and performance improvements seen when the workforce is permitted to be extremely flexible. Add to this, we are now more entrepreneurial than ever, as a globally connected society. And some employers have taken this trend to heart, realising the economic saving and scalability power of an ultimately flexible workforce - not really having much of one.


    Many companies have taken to rising new freelance platforms that allow them to post discrete projects for a fixed or hourly basis. In-house they keep only the essential personnel to run administrative, legal, management and sales divisions. This could also be in response to a lot higher job satisfaction expectation – we want nicer, cleaner, more beautiful offices if we’re doing that hour commute one way. This may be a sign that traditional 9-5’s are going the way of the dodo, being replaced with higher skilled positions that require years of experience or are very cerebral in nature. Even


    We certainly know that job hunting is the new way to gain salary and role bumps. There seem to be very few traditional employers that hire and promote from within. But a market is made up of demand and supply. Where employers demand these gigs there must be a fledgling, agile, eager and hungry workforce supply and we have seen a huge shift towards running the workforce in this way.


    So who are these giggers, freelancers, passive earners etc and are job expectations and way we seek them fundamentally changing, eroding…disappearing?


    The rise of automatons and automation:

    We always come back to technology. Technology they say is making every day jobs that many people rely on obsolete. Why pay traditional worker fees on top of a competive salary?

    · health insurance

    · 401k / pension plan

    · two to four weeks vacation

    · transportation benefits

    · employee discounts

    With a machine you can just have a one-off capital outlay to buy and a fixed operational expenditure deploy and run a machine that will do the job more precisely, faster, to a higher standard of quality and without any politics (until machines gain sentience and demand worker rights). Many people are glad to see the back of mundane jobs like in delivery (amazon drones), warehouses and all other labour intensive, mind numbing repetitive occupations. Companies are also realising the welcomed ROI in their automation investments.

    However machines can’t do everything. We now almost reside in the internet, we have an almost second life there. Conducting business, social activities and entertainment and information consumption in the digital realm. Take away someone’s phone and quite quickly you realise how much you depend on it, even just to check when the next bus is. However, this data must come from somewhere, and until machines can learn proficiently themselves, human intervention is required to contextualise, manipulate and quality control data.


    The birth of the digital human workforce

    Platforms such as Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, PeoplePerHour bridge this divide – bringing those woke and hungry talents to those agile and flextreme companies (usually startups). And you can do anything from subtitling media content to running an entire sales campaign on behalf of a large company.

    The more work you get the more your burgeoning portfolio expands. This gig economy is as much about access to these transient opportunities as it is about running your own PR and brand awareness campaigns.

    We’ve all gawped at the dollars reportedly raked in by youtubers. The first do it yourself entertainment platform to gain notoriety. But now we realise that you have to be algorithm savvy, tech savvy, trend savvy and just generally savvy.

    So its not for everyone but will it be forced upon everyone?

    No, is the short answer. I can see that with your hotdesking job that you do 2 out of 5 days a week you can also do some discrete jobs on the side and earn some money. But this is ultimately a division of attention.

    The upper echelons of any mainstay career right now are, generally, the grazing grounds for experienced industry leaders. Not to say that you couldn’t break into it, as can anyone outstanding, but upper tier roles necessitate proof of experience. That acid test fits a more traditional model right now - a full time job with a company, with extensive experience in that role.

    That’s not to say you couldn’t earn a decent living on ‘gigs’ alone – some may indeed opt for it because they value their time and want ultimate control of that work/life balance.


    Final Thoughts

    As more and more CEOs, board members and management staff get replenished with younger, more agile generations this could rapidly change.

    Instead of going to your job listing board (linkedin, monster, job centre plus ) you might find yourself on Angellist or Fiverr, Gigster or TaskRabbit as the first port of call.

    As always it just depends what shape future jobs will take and, of course where that supply and demand is.