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Many HR leaders are predicting the acceleration of the “gig economy” in the next 10 years. However, even as the number of independent workers is expected to grow to 54 million people in U.S. by 2020, the “gig economy” may develop slower than expected.
In fact, a recent online poll by Deloitte of nearly 4,000 workers found that 67% of those who have worked as an independent contractor would choose not to do so again in the future.
While 41% recognise the flexibility that independent contracting offers as compared to full-time employment, respondents cite inconsistent cash flow and lack of employer-paid benefits as drawbacks that discourage them from pursuing independent work.
More than 60% of employed workers said that their stability would suffer if they moved to independent contract work, and 42% worry about sacrificing good compensation and benefits.
The survey also pointed out that should organisations want to attract more independent contractors, they have a lot more to do.
Less than half (48%) of those who worked as an independent contractor were very satisfied with their experience, and 56% said the most important benefit of full-time employment is the steady income.
“In order to achieve business goals, organisations should look to attract all talent pools,” said Mike Preston, chief talent officer, Deloitte LLP. “Organisations should start thinking about the culture they have in place and the experiences they can design for contingent workers.”
When it comes to attracting these independent contractors, culture is a crucial factor. Nearly half of respondents said that a company’s culture is “extremely important” in choosing where they want to work.
This sentiment similar across the generations. Of the respondents who felt that company culture is “extremely important”, 53% were Millennials, 50% were Generation X, and 40% were Baby Boomers.
Nearly half of those who have previously worked as an independent contractor felt that a lack of connection to a company’s culture would discourage them from working independently in the future.
This also affects adaptation to a company’s culture, with 45% of all respondents believing that it would be difficult for an independent contractor to understand and connect with a company’s internal culture. Half of the Millennial respondents and 44% of those who have worked as an independent contractor agreed to this sentiment.
“Today’s workforce wants the ability to choose how they work – full-time or contract work. Regardless of what they choose, they crave a holistic experience that combines good compensation and benefits with a focus on well-being and career development,” Preston said.
Despite all that, 34% said they would consider working independently with women seeing the benefits of the flexibility contract work offers more clearly – 46% of women respondents indicated the ability to attend to personal needs is an advantage of being an independent contractor.
While women recognise the benefits of contract work, men are still more likely (42% of men versus 27% of women) and more satisfied (50% of men vs. 45% of women) to work as an independent contractor.
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