How the gig economy is changing recruitment

How the gig economy is changing recruitment

Covering a huge range of roles and industries, the gig economy continues to grow rapidly in the UK. One in six UK adults currently do some form of gig work at least once per week, contributing £20 billion to the UK economy.

While an army of flexible workers can bring huge benefits to organisations in the form of increased agility, faster scaling and greater efficiency, there are also challenges to using gig based labour. Businesses, HR teams and recruiters need to adapt their approaches to take into account the specific needs and values of gig economy workers, as well as to protect themselves from potential pitfalls or even legal liability.

So what should recruiters consider if they’re considering taking advantage of the gig economy?

Embrace flexibility by default

Even before lockdown forced many employees to work remotely, freelancers and gig workers were opting for a more flexible work schedule. Almost half of gig workers also have a full time job, and many are opting for flexible working patterns to fit around other commitments, such as family, hobbies, or travel.

Flexibility and independence are already highly sought-after benefits in many jobs, but for gig workers they’re essential. This means that recruiters may need to be flexible themselves to find the right person for a particular role – every gig worker has their own unique requirements, so contracted hours, working patterns and working location all need to adapt to the candidate’s needs, rather than the other way around.

Increase recruitment speed

Using contingent workers and freelancers for short term tasks or projects means that recruiters need to work quickly – in-demand freelancers often find themselves booked to capacity, and those who do have availability can find themselves courting multiple opportunities and will therefore be unwilling to waste their time on lengthy application and interview processes.

This means that to win the best talent, recruiters may need to abandon multi-stage interviews or formal application processes, relying on portfolios, word of mouth, and recommendations as opposed to traditional hiring practices. Where gig economy roles are advertised in a traditional way, the application process needs to be as efficient and pared-back as possible to ensure that candidates don’t abandon it for another opportunity.

Introduce digital processes

As gig workers can often be based anywhere, it’s important that hiring processes are designed to cater to a scattered workforce. Digital processes can give exactly the kind of flexibility and speed necessary to get flexible workers started as quickly as possible.

Digital onboarding processes can help flexible workers self-serve their way through the induction process, from granting security and access credentials to assessing training needs and setting up online learning sessions. This can help gig economy workers hit the ground running and minimise setup time.

More robust screening

While there are lots of benefits to using a flexible workforce, hiring remote workers can put your business at increased risk of fraud or other criminal activity if you don’t ensure you have robust screening processes in place. Remote jobs are popular with fraudsters, either those falsely claiming to have the right to work in the UK, or those misrepresenting their qualifications.

Recruitment fraud can leave your business open to a laundry list of liabilities, from invalid insurance if your gig workers don’t have necessary qualifications for certain roles, through to potential criminal penalties if they’re falsely claiming the right to work in the country.

Digital recruitment processes such as digital ID and right to work checks can be conducted remotely and offer a high degree of confidence, helping you to be sure that the people you’re employing are who they say they are.  

How can Reed Screening help?

Reed Screening provides screening packages designed specifically for the needs of flexible or gig economy workers, from remotely verifying identity and right to work through to vetting qualifications and criminal records.

With a minimum of effort on your part, we can provide you with the assurance that all your workers are screened to the high standard you need to ensure that your business is operating safely, efficiently and with appropriately qualified, responsible and reliable staff.