A recent study conducted by Manpower looked at ‘NextGen’ work and the trend of people choosing to work in non-traditional ways, searching for alternative work models in favour of traditional, full-time, permanent roles. It seems that part-time, contingent, contract, temporary, freelance, contract, on-demand online, and platform working are on the rise.
We know that today there are more and more people choosing to work in non-traditional ways for a variety of different reasons. Gigging or the ‘gig economy’ is a term used to describe the growing phenomenon of task-based employment. Rather than working as an employee and receiving a salary, workers receive one-off payments for individual tasks (aka ‘gigs’). In theory, this is just another term for freelancing or contracting, although the difference is scale – with gigging usually referring to smaller ‘tasks’ completed in a more casual or irregular way.
Usually, workers in the gig economy find jobs through dedicated websites and Apps (such as Airtasker or Fiverr) – signing up for the tasks they want to complete and only agreeing to complete work that appeals. For many people, it’s a great casual arrangement with the flexibility to control how much they work while studying or working in a full-time role. For employers – the gig economy can be appealing, since it cuts down on fixed costs such as office space, training and permanent wages and allows companies to seek out specialist skills and expertise as and when they need them – but it doesn’t provide the consistency and ongoing expertise that many companies need.
Manpower conducted a recent study which can be found here. The study looks at shifting labour market dynamics, the aging population, and changing skills requirements which are being driven by technological progress and globalisation. The study found, across the board, that what people want from work is changing significantly. The ‘Monday to Friday, 9 to 5′ job has moved on with the majority of jobs growth over the last 10-15 years occurring in the alternative ways of working mentioned above. Manpower’s study found that while the gig economy or the ‘uberisation of work’ is making headlines, the number of people actually earning a decent living from gigs is still relatively small. What people and businesses really want is NextGen work – new ways of working that still offer career security, opportunity for growth and prosperity for individuals.
What is NextGen Work?
NextGen work is a flexible, non-permanent way of working. While flexible working has already existed for many years, studies indicate that at least 30% of the Australian workforce undertakes some kind of freelance, contract or casual work – with many doing it by choice rather than necessity. And it’s not just the younger generation that enjoys the fact they can pick and choose work to focus on. Older workers are also embracing the trend to reduce stress, increase flexibility, take back control of their career and life, and in many situations earn higher levels of income for their difficult-to-find skills and unique levels of experience.
While people want different types of careers at different times in their lives, the Manpower survey found that 87% of people would consider NextGen work for their next job, or in the future. And employer demand for NextGen workers has risen consistently for decades too. The reasons for choosing NextGen work are diverse and include:
- Earning extra money
- Having the flexibility to do different things
- Learning new skills
- Reducing stress
- Having a better work life balance with more control over time
Most people taking on NextGen jobs, work for themselves. They choose when and where to work – and when not to. While some individuals prefer jobs with regular hours, NextGen workers value flexibility and control over their work schedule over working regular hours as a full-time, permanent employee.
Many individuals now mix short-term jobs, contract work, consulting gigs and freelance assignments to create their own portfolio career. There is no doubt that the gig economy or NextGen way of working is here to stay. The opportunities for NextGen work options are endless. Most people choose it to provide more flexibility and freedom in their life with employers appreciating the skills, expertise and fresh eyes that new team members can bring. If you’re going down this path – be prepared to work hard and allow some time to build your client base and reap the rewards this type of career can bring.
Would you like help deciding whether or not to join the NextGen wave of work? If so, please see our career counselling services.