Plugging into the gig economy

The truth about the gig economy and how it is influencing the future of talent management.   


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Smart companies combine core and contingent workforces and are invested in retraining employees and providing them with new career opportunities.
Growing Pains, KPMG U.S. CEO Outlook, 2018

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.” 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 IT to enlisting the services of a freelance software developer in order to create a new Web site.

In developing a talent strategy that draws upon the value of both full-time employees and high-end independent professionals from the gig workforce, companies can not only adapt to this future of work model, but also use it as a competitive differentiator.


Disrupting the traditional talent model 

Learn below about gig occupations, demographics for gig workers, specific talent implications, and how to adapt talent management. 

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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.


What does the future look like for the gig economy?

Source: How the Freelance Generation Is Redefining Professional Norms, LinkedIn, 21 Feb. 2017. 

of professional freelancers are either satisfied or highly satisfied with their work



of freelancers plan to continue working in the gig economy


of the 2020 workforce is expected to be made up of freelancers

The evolving work model is producing a ripple of talent and structural implications for many organizations. On one hand, some may feel the need to combat the growing popularity of the gig economy with a talent campaign that extends the full-time career benefits their organization can provide. Alternatively, some organizations have strategically embraced the gig economy as the new normal. 


Actions for HR

Reexamine the workforce composition


Reexamine the makeup of the workforce and the impact on the business as a whole. If there is a stronger desire for current and future employees to participate in gig work, organizations should ensure their number of full-time positions reflect business needs. If the need for specific roles is likely to reduce due to automation for example, now may be a good time to revisit strategic workforce planning efforts. 



Infuse a “gig” culture into the work environment


Given the emphasis younger generations are placing on entrepreneurial spirit, incorporating more entrepreneurial aspects to existing roles in the organization and how they incorporate this to enhance the employee experience could reap major benefits for the growing Generation Z workforce. Where possible, offer more virtual flexibility and create new career paths where employees will develop skills such as autonomy, analytical thinking, and problem solving to name a few, which can be leveraged throughout various parts of the business. 



Redefine the Employee Value Proposition


Since gig employees do not have the same legal protections or benefits as full-timed salaried employees, organizations may consider revamping their Employee Value Proposition to shine light on this advantage, particularly for those talented employees they want to retain. Currently, many of the gig economy jobs require lower skill set to support transactional work, not requiring a degree or specialization. This not only puts some gig work at risk of being eliminated to automation, but also may limit those workers’ career development for a short-term paycheck. If organizations are able to articulate the value and opportunities to develop strategic capabilities and skills of the future, they may be more successful in retaining talent considering the jump to full-time gig work.


Evaluate HR policies


Revisit HR policies and align them to their strategic talent efforts as it relates to the gig economy. Policies such as noncompetes and the benefit packages between full- and part-time employment may need to be modified to account for gig employment.




In a world where workers are rethinking how they balance the flexibility that independence offers against the security of traditional employment, organizations must create a future of work that supports both full-time and gig talent. KPMG can help with the talent management, culture, and training shifts you'll need to make.

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Lisa Massman

Lisa Massman

Principal, Human Capital Advisory Leader, KPMG US

Felicia Lyon

Felicia Lyon

Principal, Human Capital Advisory, KPMG US

Brock Solano

Brock Solano

Managing Director, Human Capital Advisory, KPMG LLP


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