As a company whose mission it is to make gig work, work – as both a market supplier and advocate for legislative reform in the gig economy - we’re constantly looking at ways to aid, encourage and learn from businesses and workers in the space. We want to know just what makes workers and businesses tick, what they think of the gig economy, and how they feel about services such as GIG in general.
It’s not an attempt to boast. Instead, we want to maintain an objective outlook and find ways to improve our service and operations within the gig economy for the betterment of both workers and businesses alike. In an age of uncertainty and poor PR facing the gig economy, we believe the importance in making gig work, work has never been higher.
After releasing our White Paper earlier earlier this year, which looked at the rise of the gig economy in the UK hospitality sector from a business perspective, we set out to discover more about gig economy workers. Therefore, what better place to start than by researching our own GIG Seekers?
What did we find out?
Well, one of our biggest questions has been finding out just what it is about the GIG Seeker app, and gig economy in general, that attracts workers to the "Gig Lifestyle".
When asked what they like most about being a GIG Seeker, 67% of Seekers said they enjoyed the flexibility. In addition to this, when asked what the actual reason is for using GIG, 32% of Seekers again said it was for the flexibility. This could reflect that flexible work is not only a necessity being demanded by today's labour market, it's also an enjoyable aspect of a worker's job.
The selling point of the gig economy could arguably come down to just one word: flexibility.
As this labour market grows (now employing nearly four million workers in the UK alone), more industries are waking up to the benefits of a flexible employment strategy. But why wouldn’t they? Workers who are given choice and freedom at work have been proven to be more productive, happier and loyal. In fact, 82% of millennials are more loyal when their employer offers flexibility, while further studies have shown that 77% of workers are more productive when offered flexible work.
Enticing workers through a flexible employment strategy could become fundamental for many industries. In the wake of a looming and uncertain Brexit deal, UK industries such as hospitality are facing an annual 60,000 worker shortage that sees no sign of slowing down. This poses the question, could providing flexibility be the key to attracting both local and international talent? Arguably, yes.
However, this also raises questions around dedication and hours worked. If they’re working flexibly, does this not mean they’re working part-time? As a matter of fact, No.
Our research found that over a third of GIG Seekers logged on at least 5 days a week to find shifts, which echoes our belief that flexible work is being embraced more readily by workers that look for both part-time and full-time work.
We’ve always advocated for a gig economy that is open to all demographics of worker. Rather than being pigeon-holed to stereotypical groups like university students, gig economy work is being embraced across the entire labour market, with many workers forging full-time careers in their respective fields of work.
In fact, we found out just how serious GIG Seekers are when it comes to building a career in the gig economy, as 56% of them see themselves having a long-term career in their respective fields of work. This reinforces the notion that gig economy work is not just for the part-timers or those “in-between” careers, but for all types of worker.
It’s not just us who believe this, a recent study by YouGov found that just 6% of UK workers currently work between the traditional hours of 9am to 5pm. It’s a sign that working conditions are changing and that businesses need to embrace gig economy workers as serious, long-term assets to their business.
As with any business, we’re always searching for ways to reduce worker turnover and it doing so, we found it was important for ensure GIG Seekers weren’t travelling long distances to work. Our research found that a third of GIG Seekers travel just over one mile to work.
This reflects our outreach in the hospitality, retail and warehousing industries, where more workers are able to gain access to shifts in their local areas than ever before. As we push this further, we’re constantly looking at ways to improve our filtering system, which allows workers to find shifts within a certain radius of their current location. However, whether it’s local or far away, GIG Seekers will always have the choice to work anywhere in the UK, which might explain why word of mouth is so important in this industry.
A fascinating piece of insight we found was just how powerful word of mouth is. 79% of our Seekers are either ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to recommend GIG to their friends, family or colleagues.
This not only shows the power of a good reputation within the industry, it may also reflect the growing popularity of the gig economy itself. As a result, we like to show our appreciation and entice workers further. Next month we’ll be introducing our refer-a-friend scheme, which will see any GIG Seeker (new or old) and his/her friend who signs up and works through the GIG Platform receive £10 each, on us.
As a company that prides itself on providing transparency, we wanted more than just a statistical analysis of our workers. Therefore, in conducting our study, we asked our Seekers directly: If you could change anything about the Seeker App, what would it be?
The answers varied, with one of the largest requests being: “to be notified of job alerts more efficiently”.
We appreciate the feedback, and as an app-based platform, we hear you loud and clear. Therefore, we’re introducing the ‘Seeker Signal’ - a 24-hour signal alert that informs workers of relevant job opportunities in their area, which can be turned on or off at any time by the worker. It’s just a small step in making sure we make gig work, work in every facet of our business, in which worker feedback is crucial.
The truth is that research like this gives us a fantastic level of insight into how our workers feel about the GIG service and the gig economy overall.
With the forum open to both anonymity and honesty, our research can ensure we provide meaningful solutions and avenues that help develop our service and the gig economy overall. In doing so, we’re on track with our company mission to make gig work, work.
If you're interested in discovering more about the gig economy, head to MakeGigWorkWork.co.uk. Or, to learn more about the GIG service and how we can improve your employment strategy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org