The gig economy is a funny term, conjuring up images of jobbing musicians turning up with battered guitar cases but it’s a highly professional employment concept that has a bearing on the relocation industry. It’s also a concept that’s now gone mainstream.
PwC stole the HR headlines recently when it announced it would be asking some new recruits what hours they wanted to work, rather than force the traditional 9-5 week on new starters. Applicants are invited to list their skills, along with their preferred pattern of work, before being added to its Flexible Talent Network. Once registered, people are matched with projects instead of set roles. Over 2,000 people signed up to the initiative within the first two weeks, with requests to work shorter days or just for a few months of the year.
It was quoted by the BBC that PwC had decided to the embrace the gig economy off the back of its own research. A study by the accountancy firm found almost 46% of 2,000 respondents prioritised flexible working hours and a good work-life balance the most when choosing a job.
If you’re not familiar with the gig economy, it’s a workface who prefer short term, part time, freelance or contract work as opposed to permanent and full-time roles. There’s no annual wage, rather agreed fees for the ‘gigs’ completed – whether that’s an entire project or hours worked. Already popular amoung delivery drivers, couriers and even trades, the gig economy is now sweeping up professionals and senior management.
Gigging can be nomadic in its nature, with the mobility aspect and a heavy reliance on contractors resonating with relocation. We expect employers to increasingly move their workforce around according to skill sets and current projects as they grasp the benefits of the gig economy, especially if they trade from multiple offices and even countries.
The gig economy also goes hand-in-hand Millennials and their desire for freedom of movement. Suddenly you have a professional workforce willing to travel and experience new things, and employers happily suggesting a relocation package as a perk, rather than a piece of bad news.