Men since time immemorial have been trying to break themselves free of the shackles and confines of a rigid nine-to-five. Even before that, men have been trying to be less answerable to authority. Are we romanticizing the notion of work? Probably. Is it here to stay? Definitely. Depending on who you are listening to, the gig economy is either the best or the worst thing to happen to the world of work.
Some see it as a much-needed antidote to a humdrum nine-to-five existence, empowering them to work with freedom and flexibility. Others focus on the precarious nature of gig work and its potential for exploitation.
What is a Gig Economy Essentially?
It is a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.
But you could probably glean that from context. The next big question then is, how do job boards accommodate the ever-rising gig economy?
The era of the gig economy is here, and freelancing is a significant reason why. The best freelance websites out there make it easier for workers around the world to do their work at their convenience. These sites are also making the lives of small business owners easier, allowing them to post freelance jobs in case they need a short-term hire.
The Pitfalls of Gig Economy and How Job Boards can Leverage it
App-driven platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo have completely disrupted the market, opening up the gig economy to pretty much anyone, regardless of skills or experience. But these companies are rarely out of the news, due to their perceived exploitation of workers or ‘independent contractors’, as they are officially known. Job boards, to a major extent, protect the interests of both parties with equal gusto.
The lack of active governance to protect the interests of its workforce has been a big deterrent against participation in the gig economy. Regulations in favor of consumer interests, fair marketplaces, and labor and tax policies have been generally lacking. Not only the government has been lackadaisical, but even the job boards also need to adapt to cater to the changing pattern of consumption. Not only for job seekers. Even for job givers. In fact, more for job givers.
You can hire them on demand to take care of a part of your business as you continue to grow. And you’re able to do this without the commitment of hiring them as a full-time employee, especially if you’re trying to bootstrap your business.
Historically, blue-collared jobs have been associated with ‘gigging’: mason workers, carpenters, drivers, and the likes. Today, with the uproar of people in the Jack-of-trades department, high flying white-collared jobs have come from a monthly scheme to an hourly or per project scheme.
The Amazon of Job Boards
Job boards for the freelance community need to be the Amazon of job listings, geared specifically for freelancers. In addition to its simple search function, the site should divide work opportunities by categories and subcategories. Within each subcategory, you should be able to check out a list of freelancers who are skilled in that field. They could be ranked based on the number and quality of ratings they’ve received, which go up to 5 stars. That’s our utopian definition. But.
What could we do to modify what is already there?
1. Filters, filters, and more filters in a gig economy
It should customize your searches to suit your exact needs: the complexity, length, and skill level of a freelancer or gig you seek. The job board should be fairly intuitive here and with just the right number of filters, play cupid between the freelancer and the job giver
To combat this beautifully, JobsPikr’s automated tagging system reads through the job posting content and determines if a given job is remote in nature or not. It is that simple, and that often ignored.
2. Third-party application integration in Gig Economy
A picture is truly worth a thousand words. Imagine you are a visual artist. No matter what you put down in writing on your profile will not be worth the zillion graphics you have put out there. The zillion graphics which received a zillion rave reviews from friends and friends-of-friends. Every job board should allow you to link your social media to your freelancer profile. It makes for less to-and-fro and puts the money where the mouth is. Smooth.
3. Reviews and ratings
This one is quite a no-brainer. This section is the make or break section. Think of Zomato. Think of Amazon. Companies build solely on ratings and reviews. Digital publicity is that important. What Adam thinks of Adam is not important but what Mark thinks of Adam is God’s own words.
4. Monetize it
That is how the cookie crumbles, after all. Top jobs could be promoted. Run schemes on top-performing freelancers in each category. Let freelancers purchase advertising slots. Select a ‘rising star’. Incentivize all of it. The scope is limitless.
5. User experience and mobile-optimization
The app like any other app should come naturally to the user. The convenience of the mobile will continue to alter how people look for work and feature their brand. Freelancers are affected by both those movements and will turn to apps more than ever when looking for gigs. Even if you don’t have the money to invest in a costly app, you can provide a mobile-friendly version of your site.
If the gig economy keeps growing at its current rate, more than 50% of the US workforce will participate in it by 2027. To achieve the same kind of growth in the shadows of COVID 19 and the subsequent nationwide lockdown, a thorough revaluation of the gig ecosystem is mandatory.
Adaptation solutions are just what the doctor ordered. Darwin had famously once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent…It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”