An umbrella term that captures the increase in contract, temporary and freelance roles, the ‘gig economy’ is a new way of hiring and working that is set to alter the world of work, irrevocably. In fact, according to an independent survey commissioned by Robert Half, three-quarters (76%) of Australian hiring managers say having a mix of both temporary and permanent employees is crucial to the success of their company.

The benefits of temporary work are gaining in popularity as we’re seeing more and more professionals opting for contract work. The gig economy certainly delivers a high level of flexibility – allowing individuals to experience diverse careers, accumulate a rich skill set and garner exposure to multiple industries and workplaces.

Naturally, some businesses are sceptical about the benefits of this new phenomenon and may be wary about changing their approach to recruitment and staffing.

There are a host of myths around the gig economy; luckily, they can be easily dispelled:

  1. It is just another fad

    The gig economy may seem like another fad, yet the concept of using a contingent workforce has been around for many years, particularly in industries that notoriously face skills shortages, such as technology.

    Looking forward, the changing dynamic in the Australian workplace is set to continue, as more than seven in 10 (71%) businesses feel contract workers are a key component of their department’s long-term staffing strategy.

  2. Contract workers don’t truly care about the businesses they work for

    It is reasonable to assume that someone who works for a business on a temporary basis would not be invested in a company’s long-term success. However, a contract worker is likely to be as invested in a business’s success as a permanent member of staff, as they are professionals and specialists in their field of expertise.

    They also might see the contract position as a bridge to permanent work if a position were to become available in the company. So most contract workers will try to perform their best and make a positive contribution.

  3. Contract workers don’t care about their career

    It is easy to assume that someone who works on a contract basis might not really care about their future. But this is far from the truth. Temporary workers sometimes choose to break away from permanent employment so they can be their own boss and take better control of their career path.

  4. Contract workers do not have job stability

    Other than career flexibility and exposure to different industries, the personal benefits of contract or temporary work for employees have become more apparent, with almost eight in 10 (78%) employers noting that contract workers enjoy flexibility while still maintaining a healthy degree of job security – removing the stigma that some professionals have about the perceived instability of this type of work.

What is next for the gig economy?

The benefits of a flexible staffing approach are being felt by employers, particularly in a candidate-short market, as it allows them access to a much larger pool of skilled talent.

By adopting a mix of both permanent and contract workers, Australian companies can become more competitive as they’re able to fill essential skills gaps quickly, while maintaining business continuity and starting new projects, without the additional cost burden of expanding headcount.