Opinion

The gig economy is about to enter adland

It's not just Uber drivers: the professional gig economy is here, and it's time adland sat up and embraced it, writes Luke Achterstraat.

I’d hazard a guess everyone reading this has either taken an Uber, stayed in an Airbnb, engaged someone on Airtasker or indulged in a Deliveroo takeaway.

I’m not going to bore you with the revolutionary impact of these organisations on the business world. The gig economy is not new news.

Sophie Monk starring in an Uber Eats campaign

But the traditional view of the gig economy as something that provides a second job for people or supplementing incomes is changing. There’s a new wave of highly-trained professionals seizing the opportunity to take control of their careers. And it’s benefitting a lot of companies.

Guns for hire slinging their insights and skills to those who need them are nothing new in the communications and media industry, where freelancing has long been a way of life for agencies looking to monetise fluctuating client demands and budgets.

What is new about this is the amount of clients now seizing on opportunities to reduce full-time headcount permanently, by engaging skilled specialists as and when they need them.

Take the industry we operate in for example, you might not need a corporate finance communications guru on staff for 365 days per year, but for reporting season, the ability to tap into someone with that skillset and contacts in the financial press can make a significant difference to your share price at the end of the week.

Similarly we find a lot of smaller businesses are able to tap into skills they otherwise would never have been able to afford, with access to a host of professionals on a job-by-job basis. This too, can only be a good thing for the industry with more people exposed to the benefits of working with professional communicators and the kind of effects they can have.

So what’s in it for these highly-trained professionals picking up ad-hoc work rather than the comfort of a full-time gig on a cushy corporate salary?

For many it comes down to flexibility, the opportunity to be your own boss, work the hours and jobs you want to and not get bogged down in internal politics which can be draining for anyone, especially veterans of one too many boardroom tussles.

A lot of the jobs are things that can be done remotely, they get to control their hours and days, and often they can earn more than returning to a regular job. Ultimately, they have control of their own destiny, and no fears of being held back.

Of course there will always be the need for in-house and agency teams that can work on long-term projects, but increasingly we’re seeing companies large and small turn to tech platforms like ours to fill needs as they arise, and get the input of real experts, without breaking the bank.

When the day comes where you think: “I wish we had that skill set in our team for this task”, the gig economy means now you can access it at the push of a few buttons.

The future of work is here. It’s time to embrace it.

This article was originally submitted to Mumbrella as a contribution from Pete McConnell, executive chairman of Commtract. The correct attribution is Luke Achterstraat, managing director at Commtract, so Mumbrella has updated the article accordingly. 

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