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  • Writer's pictureCXOs & Co.

Executives & the Gig Economy

Updated: Dec 26, 2018

Flexible work is possibly one of the biggest drivers of the transformation of business models.

With a name appropriated from performance culture where musicians play a limited engagement, or a “gig,” the gig economy describes the expanding labor market comprised of contract workers, freelancers, crowd sourced workers, and others who are hired for limited engagements. This is an entirely new way of looking at work that theoretically came from millennials, but really is being fueled by executives from older generations. As borderless teams, co-working spaces and freelancing are on the rise, the lines between corporate and gig life are becoming blurred. The video from London Business School illustrates this.

In a gig economy, businesses save resources in terms of benefits, office space and training. They also have the ability to contract with experts for specific projects who might be too high-priced to maintain on staff.

In an article on Bluesteps (a service from the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants) it mentions that Signium UK’s Paul Surridge sees “an opportunity for CHROs to get ahead of the curve and redesign their organizations for the future. We are going to have a blended workforce.”

Agile businesses increasingly turn to external talent when they can’t find the competencies they need in the traditional marketplace, and managing relationships with talent not bound to the organization is high stakes. “The war for talent is a war for skills that are in real shortage,” Surridge says.

As the gig economy rises and the war for talent intensifies, employers are learning to embrace the flexibility that comes with these veteran skilled workers. Forty-seven percent of business leaders today want to hire on-demand and/or contract workers, according to research firm Mavenlink. Positions include management, senior executive and even the C-suite. These are top managers and professionals who’ve been trained at top schools and companies and choose to pursue project-based careers independent of any major firm. They’re increasingly trusted by corporations to do mission-critical work that in the past would have been done by permanent employees or established outside firms such as the known big consulting companies that used to board in freshly graduated MBA, train them shortly on their methods and sent them as management consultant without real executive experience.


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