Recruiting Talent in Today’s Gig Economy

application-1883453_1920In recent years, the US labor market has seen an influx of workers migrating to what’s been dubbed the “gig economy” — a class of employment that caters to those seeking freelance or on-demand work.

The rapid rise of companies like Uber and Postmates is, in part, explained by the notion that workers in this subsector of the economy are attracted to the freedom and flexibility of working when and however long they want with just a tap of a smartphone. In fact, last year The Boston Globe reported that 40% of America’s workforce could be considered freelance workers by 2020. Recode said last fall that the number is already between 20% and 30%.

PREMIUM CONTENT: The Global Gig Economy

That’s an alarming statistic for businesses that have been relying on the traditional hourly worker with a steady schedule dictated by their employer. So where does that leave them? How do businesses recruit the staff they need in an economy that seems to be shifting away from the conventional 9-5?

Know Your Target Audience

That’s exactly what Snagajob, a marketplace connecting hourly workers with hourly employers, addressed on a panel at our recent INSIGHT 2017 conference, an annual event put on by Natural Insight to help the retail industry stay competitive in today’s changing marketplace.

According to Snagajob, 78 million Americans, or 59% of the workforce, are hourly workers. And 71% of them are under 30 years old. The preferences of these millennial and Generation Z job seekers are the driving force behind how the employment marketplace will continue to change.

Match Marketing Group also participated in the INSIGHT 2017 panel and cited that today’s hourly workers are driven less by money and more by flexibility — preferring a lifestyle in which they can be in charge of their own schedule and not feel constrained.

Staying Ahead of the Trend

Hourly workers are also demanding that the hiring process be simpler, faster and more automated. A Snagajob study found that 82% of job seekers use mobile and smart phones to conduct their job searches while 70% use a computer and only 41% fill out paper applications. Snagajob has implemented technology like text messages and video interviews to accelerate the arduous process that previously required paper applications, waiting for a phone call, and traveling to in-person interviews.

All of these shifts in the traditional hiring process can seem overwhelming. Natural Insight’s new Workforce Health performance score uses actual job data, in addition to performance reviews, to assign a 1-5 Workforce Health score to each worker in its system. This approach is different from offering ratings based only on subjective performance reviews. The goal is to help employers tackle one of their biggest challenges: finding and retaining high-performing workers who have already made their way through the vetting process.

Ultimately, hiring hourly workers affects the entire retail ecosystem. By working together to understand this new generation of hourly employees and the evolving landscape of hiring in a growing gig economy, we can continue to recruit the right people that drive our businesses forward.

MORE: Why the Growth of the Gig Economy is Recruiting’s Best Challenge



Stefan Midford

Stefan Midford
Stefan Midford is president and CEO of Natural Insight and has more than 30 years of experience in information technology, operations and workforce management.

Stefan Midford

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