Gig economey

June 30, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Christine Ibbotson

“Dear Money Lady,

Before COVID I was always working as an engineering contractor for various businesses, but I have been unemployed for two years now.  I was one of the first ones to go because I was not a full-time employee.  Now I am back working, but I wonder if business will every want contractors again.”  –Dave

Dear Dave – they definitely will, just give it some time!  It is predicted that in 2022 we will see a shift in the Canadian workforce.  Prior to COVID, the labour market had changed immensely from one that was characterized by stable or permanent employment, to a “gig economy” of temporary or contracted employment where an on-demand, freelance or a contingent workforce was the norm.  In the labour industry a gig can be defined as “any type of job with a short or uncertain duration.”  This type of staffing model was on the rise in 2016 to 2020 allowing organization to fill skill gaps by hiring on temporary and on-demand staff.  This was not like the old temp-jobs of the past, but rather short or long-term contracts for various skill levels.  From blue-collar, light industrial workers to highly skilled IT, engineering, accounting and HR professionals, these temporary employees were more likely to be called contingent workers, independent contractors, consultants or even freelance workers.  Regardless of the title, the gig economy in Canada, that once proved to be a massively growing sector, now due to COVID, has litterly been flattened. 

But there is some good news Dave.  In the last three months we have seen a major upswing of the gig sector again.  Many freelancers are eager to get back to work now that we see more pent-up demand as the COVID restrictions loosen their grip on us all.  Even those Canadians with full-time, permanent employment are finding that they too are working like the many gig contractors of the past.  Businesses now have accepted that most of their employees can indeed work from home.  Many are finding that the flexibility and choice about when, where and how to work gives them greater job satisfaction.  They now see the appeal of the old-style gig economy and many full-timers don’t want to go back to work.  Why bother spending two hours commuting five days a week when you can get more done sitting in your pajamas at your kitchen table.  It is projected that there are a lot more changes to come with business and that this “new” gig economy will become even bigger than before.  Companies realize that they can get more out of their employees when they work from home and reducing their real estate footprint lowers overhead costs.  High priced office leases are not being renewed and highly skilled professionals are now pursuing project-based careers either with or without full time employment.  

One thing that has always been constant, is today’s highly evolving technology, now allowing people to literally do their jobs from anywhere.  People value their autonomy and want more control.  It is becoming a new trend in our cultural to want flexibility in our working lives.  We seem to now be changing our view and wanting to “work to live” instead of the pre-COVID ways to “live to work.”

Good Luck & Best Wishes,

ATML – Christine Ibbotson

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