We have already established what the gig economy is
and how it will affect the workplace, but how will it actually affect you?
The 2017 Randstad Workmonitor revealed, 71% of New Zealanders think that a “job-for-life” is extinct, and yet 80% are still in the same job they were in six months ago.
While perceptions have changed about long-term work in New Zealand, the realities haven't affected every industry just yet.
On the surface you can see a number of industries transforming under the gig economy – with Uber and Airbnb good examples of the asset-less industries being created - and yet New Zealanders still remain in their jobs. The gig economy has already benefited some workers who are looking for temporary work between studies or between jobs, but how will it affect the 80% of New Zealanders who haven’t changed jobs in six months and aren’t looking to leave?
which industries are likely to be affected?
If you are in a creative industry or want to work on the latest technologies, then a gig economy job might suit your career progression. You might be looking for a creative job or a job in tech, both of which are becoming more and more contract-focused. These industries often have project-based work and can be well-paid if you have the right skills and flexibility. What’s more, if you do not like the contract you can always look elsewhere and not feel restricted by a permanent role.
Some industries have always involved casual employment such as agriculture and seasonal work in retail, and will probably remain or involve even more casual work as the gig economy becomes more prevalent.
avoiding the gig economy
One school of thought says, if you are already in a job you love hang onto it. There are a number of industries that cannot function without the knowledge, experience and skills of permanent employees. If you find a company that matches your values and beliefs, and there is room to grow, then it’s a good idea to keep your skills strong and relevant, cease development opportunities and stay put.
On the other hand, it can also be a good idea to see the gig economy as an opportunity for a stop-gap in your career and a chance to learn new skills between jobs that could lead to a longer term role.
longevity in the gig economy
The gig economy often misses the mark on longevity for business, as it is unable to offer long term progression for both employers and employees. Employers can bring in a contractor to establish a new strategy or run a project from start to finish, but to establish a great manager they need time and investment.
The best managers have usually been with their company for long enough to know the business and have built up respect amongst employees. A contractor is less likely to be as successful in a managerial role when he/she has only been in the company for a few months.
If you are trying to navigate the gig economy and how it can benefit you, our advice is to keep your skills relevant and use the flexibility to your advantage. If you want to find or keep a permanent job, maximise your skills where you can and progress when you can. You may be able to use the gig economy to your advantage along the way and between jobs, but if it's security and long-term investment you want for your career then it's important to always have that longer term job goal in mind with every gig you take.