Part of the problem in determining the number of gig workers is defining criteria for the category. According to Forbes, “the gig economy is a term that refers to the increased tendency for businesses to hire independent contractors and short-term workers, and the increased availability of workers for these short-term arrangements.”
The explosion of the gig economy can be attributed, in part, to the most recent recession in 2008, when millennials were forced to start careers at a time when companies weren’t hiring. Taking on gig work allowed them to make ends meet while exploring a variety of fields.
Benefits of Gig Work and the Staffing Industry
Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, according to Pew Research Center, and they are changing the way work looks. Turnover figures for millennials are double those of other generations because often they desire flexible schedules with remote work opportunities. They also typically place an emphasis on work-life balance, opting for jobs that will provide them with experiences, rather than a path up the conventional career ladder.
To connect with these gig workers, companies often turn to staffing agencies, like Express Employment Professionals. Vetting and providing quality job applicants is a staffing agency’s only focus, allowing companies to continue running their business, instead of spending time wading through candidates.
“The reason Express has grown so much in the past 35 years is because we’ve taken the time to develop a system that works,” Express CEO Bill Stoller said. “Companies come to us to help solve their hiring difficulties, whether it’s for short-term assignments or they need someone for the long haul.
“Express never charges a fee for job seekers, and with more than 800 offices internationally, we offer a lot of opportunities for people who are hard-working and dedicated. For those looking for more permanent placements, many of our clients offer evaluation-hire experiences, allowing companies to make sure a candidate is the right fit.”
While Express does offer temporary assignments, the staffing company also offers a full range of employment solutions, including evaluation hire, professional search and human resources. Shorter assignments can also allow job seekers to explore several career paths before committing to one long term.
Solving the Skills Gap
In a survey of business owners conducted by Express, 57% percent reported a lack of job applicants with experience as the top reason jobs go unfilled. The development of technology and other modern advances in the workforce is driving an increasingly widening skills gap, particularly in fields that require career or vocational tech training.
This means companies need workers with skills most applicants lack.
“Young adults graduating high school have more options than just attending college,” said John A. Thomas, a professional staffing field consultant at Express International Headquarters in Oklahoma City. “They can begin a rewarding career in the skilled trades. By choosing that career path, they are filling a major void that exists in manufacturing companies today. That entry-level opportunity can turn into a lifetime career where they can earn wages similar to those individuals graduating from college with a degree.”
A few well-paying jobs for which only a high school degree is needed include:
- Electrician apprentice
- Plumber apprentice
- Maintenance tech
- Accounts payable/receivable clerk
Workers in these fields, or similar ones, can expect to earn $40,000 to $60,000 and with some additional training, could possibly see salaries above $70,000.
Working with a staffing agency, like Express, is advantageous to job seekers looking to build their skills, possibly even while earning a technical certificate or associate’s degree.
“It’s very common to think that some of these industries require backbreaking work in sweltering or freezing conditions, but that’s simply not true,” Stoller said. “Most industrial work is done in clean environments and requires a very skilled laborer. Because of that, companies are willing to make very lucrative salary offers to get the best of the best.”