Why contracting, micro-jobbing and gig work is on the rise

Article by Phillipa Geard.  Issued by RecruitMyMom

The need for companies to be more agile in the way they operate is on the increase, and so is the upward trend of job-seekers contracting, micro-jobbing and gig working. Here’s why.

Unemployment levels globally, and particularly in South Africa, have soared as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for organisational agility and plasticity has accelerated as rapidly. A global shift toward remote and online working has accelerated in 2020 as new ways of working have quickly been adopted by workers and companies alike.

As companies have realised that productivity levels increase and not decrease with a remote workforce and, that almost anyone can work remotely, the need for purely office-based, locally sourced staffing diminishes. The world is now an open field for recruiting talent.

Take the RecruitMyMom database of nearly 100,000 women across South Africa. These women have this in common:

  • they all have current and high-level skills to offer
  • they want to work with companies that respect work-life integration
  • they all know that whether working in an office or at home, they will get the work done

The demand for contracting, micro-jobbing and gig work has exploded amongst working mothers in the past years, offering many the ability to stay current with digital trends whilst giving them the benefit of the flexibility they seek in their day-to-day lives. The variety of jobs in different industries enables them to bring the most diverse and up-to-date thinking to any hiring company.

Contracting, micro-jobbing and gig work are cost-effective, low-risk solutions to any company seeking excellent skills.

Independent contracting allows companies to hire top-calibre consultants, with experience from the likes of EY, Bain, Deloitte and others for a fraction of a corporate fee. Marketing skills can be hired knowing the contractor has the right skills and will deliver. Compliance and finance managers get hired on an hourly basis, and HR consultants get called upon on an as-need basis. For busy entrepreneurs having a pool of reliable trained virtual assistants to do the work they shouldn’t, makes good business sense.

The gig economy that gets its name from the term ‘gig’, typically used by musicians but refers to a piece of work, has enabled thousands to remain employed. Gig work involves taking on a variety of jobs for shorter periods, and gig workers are generally independent contractors and online platform workers or on-call workers who provide services to a company or its clients, depending on demand.

Micro-jobbing falls within the gig economy and is often small tasks that one does for money. Work may include remote or in-person jobs, such as translation, writing blogs, virtual assistant, social media custodians, appointment setters, website design and more.

The advantage to any company of the growth in the contracting, gig and micro-jobbing space is the ability to tap into an ever-growing pool of local or global skills at affordable rates. Skills that may or may not form part of the core function of the business, many choosing to outsource non-core skills to accessible consultants.

For job-seekers, the advantage is the ability to work on cutting-edge global projects, offering competitively priced skills, whilst working from sunny South Africa or any other remote part of the world. Or it is working with forward-thinking South African companies that embrace flexible work policies, enabling them to attract top talent in a resource-scarce market.

The reality is that contracting, gig working and micro-jobbing is growing because the demand exists from both companies and job-seekers alike. There are considerable advantages on both sides, with online reach making it possible to transact.