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Plugging into the gig economy: The truth about the gig economy and how it is influencing the future of talent management

With the pressure of a changing labor market and a precarious economic culture, a trend of freelance or self-employment has been on the rise and is becoming widely referred to as the ‘gig economy’. The rapid shift towards the gig economy is visible on both a micro and macro level. On a consumer level, a choice to take an Uber to work versus a taxi cab is one example of how people are utilizing this model. Within a corporation, it could be a decision to shift from using in-house [information technology IT to enlisting the services of a freelance software developer in order to create a new Web site. While popular examples like Uber and TaskRabbit may first come to mind, the gig economy reaches far beyond our favorite phone apps with up to 57.3 million workers participating in 2017. Particularly with advances in technology, this allowing millions of people around the globe to opt for greater independence in their work lives., Whether someone is completely dedicated as an independent contractor or dabbling outside of their full-time position, the gig environment has evolved and expanded its opportunities over the years as a result of increased mobility and the rising digital age. Gig opportunities and platforms range from crowd sourcing, app or web-based bidding and task-based work activities, to the demand for outsourced providers with special skills. For example, crowd sourcing invites organizations or individuals to access an online platform to outsource tasks to registered members. Others tap into the gig economy through advanced freelancer platforms which allow individuals to set up a profile, bid on jobs relevant to their skills, and set their rates utilizing a mobile bidding platform. With the benefits as a result of this new dynamic, though, comes new challenges for many organizations entrenched in the war for talent. To better understand the talent implications and proactive solutions organizations should be considering, it is important to first answer a few key questions: Who makes up the gig economy, why does it continue to grow, and where is it headed?