By Darren H. Burton
I was struck recently by the lead paragraph of an article in the New York Times which said, “You can see the gig economy everywhere but in the statistics.” After all, we hear so much nowadays about how the gig economy is transforming the way people work, driven by the rise of Uber, TaskRabbit, and other services. However, a study released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that as a whole, the gig economy isn’t growing and that traditional jobs remain king. So, what exactly does this mean for a firm like KPMG as we make human resources decisions?
In the professional services industry, at least, the macro trends in the BLS report may not tell the full story. It’s worth looking deeper. According to the data, “management, business, and financial operations occupations” comprise nearly 24% of the independent contractor workforce — a labor pool of nearly 2.5 million individuals. The New York Times article further notes that the number of independent contractors in the “professional and business services” sector has grown approximately 50% since 2005. This is a sizeable labor pool that is expanding at a rapid rate — one that is likely to continue, given current economic and political trends.
We don’t need a perfectly polished crystal ball to build an HR strategy around contingent labor. Whether you work in an industry with rapid increases in the number of independent contractors, or one with slower growth, there are some basic principles to keep in mind when seeking to attract and engage contingent talent.
Most organizations, regardless of industry or strategic objectives, can benefit from the contingent labor market by applying many of the same principles that guide their day-to-day people decisions, but in new ways. By meeting talent where it exists, we can help our organizations grow and serve our clients and stakeholders better.
For additional perspectives on the future of the contingent workforce, read KPMG’s report, Ready for a Boundaryless Workforce?
Darren H. Burton is Vice Chair, Human Resources, for KPMG.