The Gig Economy

By Shweta Bapat

The employment trends are changing periodically to be more and more suitable to the requirements of employers as well as employees. Traditional employment trend shows that once the employee has joined a particular company after the graduation or masters, he used to be the permanent employee of that organisation for his or her life. The company as well as employees were not considering separation as an option.

It means getting retire from the same organisation where you joined after the formal education was treated as lifetime achievement or a successful career. This was also useful for the organisations as they were almost tension free with regards to employee turnover problems, recruitment and selection expenses, training etc.


This trend of employment changed when number of employment opportunities and availability of skilled labour increased in the market. Employees started changing jobs whenever they used to get good job opportunities or growth opportunity outside.  But still in this trend also employees used to continue with the organisations for average of 8 to 10 years because of their attachment, belongingness and loyalty.

Later the trend came where the frequency of changing the job increased. This was mainly because of the globalisation. Globalisation made huge employment opportunities available with in the country as well as outside the country. The attraction of working abroad for huge organisations with fat salary amounts increased among the young generations and it became a status symbol. In this period the employment tenure became even shorter as employees were ready to take up the project based employment as per the requirement of the companies. Mainly IT companies were responsible for this employment trend.

It can be witnessed that the changes in employment trends are reducing the employment tenures shorter and shorter. Gig economy is also one such trend that is affecting on employment and making the tenure even shorter. The dictionary meaning of word ‘Gig’ is performance. BBC defines the Gig Economy as a labour market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs.

In simple words Gig economy it can be defined as short term performance or a piece of work based on the demand of company. As per the report published by the Aspen Institute titled The Gig Economy, between the years 2002 to 2014, when total employment increased by 7.5%, Gig Economy workers increased by between 9.4% and 15.0%.

It is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. Freelance and part time category of jobs are also labelled under gig economy. Developing an internal gig economy platform can helpful to the organisations. Permanent full time employees can be given an opportunity to perform internal gigs. This will help in addressing the problems related to the small piece of work and it may lead to job satisfaction for the performers because they are choosing the gigs to do. Companies may notice an improvement in employee engagement levels due to internal gig economy platform.

Stay tuned to know pros and cons of Gig economy in the next part of this article.

(About the Author: Shweta Bapat, HoD Human Resource Management, Kaveri College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune)

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