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Gig economy. You’ve probably heard of it. You may even be fully embracing it. Or, you may be worried about the challenges it presents for your recruitment agency in a candidate scarce market. The least you can do is start understanding it, and a great way to do this is to get your head around some of the many gig worker personas.
Yes, believe it or not, there is not one single type of ‘gig candidate’. These candidates are, in fact, people. People who now belong to a flourishing tribe with a multitude of circumstances that have led them to seek short term, rather than long term employment contracts.
The REC estimate that 4.8 million people in the UK are now gig workers. That's 15% of the population. Do you know them?
Alicia is strongly motivated by financial security and flexibility. She is looking for temporary work for extra income, rather than to pursue a particular career path. She is degree educated, and is looking for temporary, flexible work in a niche area such as tutoring.
Lin has recently graduated from university. He wants to get into one of the big four accountancy firms, but he didn’t make this year’s intake and their recruitment process takes months. He can’t afford not to work in the meantime, so he’s looking for temporary contracts to see him through.
Rachel is looking to gain experience in a niche skill to help further develop her career. She is a junior web designer full-time, but is looking for a number of temporary design projects through freelance work to boost her portfolio and broaden her design knowledge and experience.
Liam is building his own photography business. He’s looking to pursue as many gigs as he can to get exposure in the market. He likes to be his own boss and in control of his own schedule.
Ivy is an independent contractor. She is motivated by doing what she loves, and is focused on turning her hobbies into a career. She values work-life balance and flexibility, and takes on a number of part time gigs in niche areas where she can apply a specific set of skills. She would struggle to find this offering in a single, permanent role.
So you've met five different candidate personas of gig workers. There are more, but you would be reading for days. The point is, there are many reasons why people could be looking for gig work. So with that being said, let's get Giggity.
What does this mean for you as a recruiter?
The gig economy broadens your talent pool of candidates, as candidates no longer need to live within travelling distance of their workplace. The upside of this is that you now have access to more candidates and can focus on recruiting based on skills and personality-fit alone, reducing barriers to finding that perfect candidate. The challenge with this is that when recruiting in a wider pool of candidates, you will face more competition from other recruitment agencies. So you need to start thinking more creatively about how you can attract and retain candidates.
Gig economy candidates are looking for work fast, they’re likely to be available for an immediate start, and as the name suggests, a gig is a temporary contract. Recruiters will need to ensure they can move candidates through the recruitment process seamlessly in order to keep up with the high volumes of candidates and contracts.
As the majority of gig workers are millennials, they’re likely to be using digital platforms and social media to source work. In an engagement economy where candidates expect instant feedback and gratification, you will need to ensure you have a strong online presence and use modern platforms and networks to find your candidates.
It's time to take off the traditional recruiter hat, start looking beyond your own requirements, and take a candidate-first approach. And to take a candidate-first approach, you need to stop thinking of them as just candidates, and start thinking of them as people.
Sounds strange doesn't it? Well, it's actually pretty straightforward. If you start thinking of your candidates as people, with homes, families, pets, and their own unique journey on this planet, you will ultimately deliver a better recruitment experience for both your candidates, and your clients.
You will need to stop applying old rules to a new economy. Is this candidate overqualified for a telesales position on paper? Yes. But if this same candidate is looking for supplementary income, or a temporary job in between careers, to earn instant money and willing to take on this role, why should they not be put forward for it? Besides, the whole idea of a ‘gig’ is that this isn’t a long-term commitment.
If you serve your candidates well, you will likely put forward individuals who will perform better at interview and assessment stages, and as a result you will no doubt satisfy your clients by delivering top quality candidates, quickly and effectively.