The gig economy: what’s in it for contractors?

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The growth of online talent marketplaces is helping contractors and other flexible workers to find work, a new report has found.

McKinsey Global Institute’s (MGI) latest study reveals that skilled independent professionals are benefiting from the rise of LinkedIn, niche job boards and sites that act as “digital marketplaces” for freelance services.

The phenomenon has given rise to the so-called gig economy, defined as “contingent work that is transacted on a digital marketplace.”

McKinsey’s study claims that online talent platforms could boost global GDP by $2.7 trillion over the next decade, by helping to overcome a “stubborn disconnect between people and jobs” and increasing transparency regarding businesses’ demand for skills.

Contractors, who regularly have to seek new assignments, could benefit from the accelerated hiring process the ‘gig economy’ offers. The report said that this is achieved through “better, faster matching between workers and available opportunities.”

Meanwhile, staffing firms and their clients can also gain from web-based marketplaces, due to their potential to “revolutionise the way organisations attract, retain and develop talent.”

Technology and professional services firms, with their need for “specialised, expensive, and hard-to-find talent”, stand to benefit the most.

The report states: “In a more digitally connected and knowledge-based economy, companies increasingly create value from ideas, innovation, research, and expertise. Finding the right talent matters and drives results, but organisations often struggle to land the right candidates.

“By enabling a more detailed understanding of the demand for particular skills and better educational and training choices, online talent platforms could shift the entire mix of skills over the long term, increasing human capital and economic vitality.”

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