Hijacking the Best Parts of the “Gig Economy” to Attract Candidates

September 8, 2016 Matt Tarpey

The continued popularity of “gig economy” jobs made possible by apps like Uber and Instacart and websites like TaskRabbit is raising the question of what draws workers to this kind of employment – and how more traditional companies can match that appeal.


Though you may not be able to offer these three key attractions to the extent the gig economy can, consider how you can “hijack” these ideals to attract a new crop of job seekers:



The clearest attraction to gig-centric employment for young workers is the ability to “be your own boss.” The level of autonomy gig workers are able to achieve has historically been reserved for entrepreneurs who put in years of effort building their own business – and taking on all the related risks. Now, workers in the gig economy enjoy that freedom as well.


Hijack it: In order to apply this principle to your own company, highlight employee autonomy and give workers greater control over what projects they work on and how those projects are completed.


Flexible hours

Similarly, many workers are attracted to gig economy jobs because of the highly flexible schedules they offer. Many of the services fueling the gig economy allow workers to completely set their own schedules – no matter how unusual. For example, an off-duty UberX driver may choose, on a whim, to take fares for a couple of hours. If something comes up, they can just as easily switch back to their “inactive” status.


Hijack it: While most employers can’t match this level of flexibility, giving workers more leeway in terms of their work hours can go a long way. Though this trend exists independently of the growth of the gig economy, gig economy-driven jobs have taken it to the next level. The message is clear: Candidates are generally more likely to accept a job offer if it comes with greater control over their schedules.


Greater Cause

A significant number of gig workers view this work as just a phase before they enter their actual career. So what are they waiting for? In many cases, they’re waiting for the right company – or more accurately, the right mission. Younger workers – millennials in particular – are motivated by a set of personal values, and working for an organization that represents the same values is extremely important to them.


Hijack it: While gig work may not directly satisfy that need to be working for a cause, the autonomy and flexibility of the gig economy allow these workers to pursue their passions and ideals in other ways.


To compete with this, employers need to understand the values important to potential candidates and align their corporate mission and culture with those values.


Where Gigs Fall Short

The gig employment may have its own particular charms, but there are things traditional employment can offer that can’t be matched by the gig economy. Benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans are the biggest things full-time employers can offer workers that they can’t often get from working gigs.


While the passage of the Affordable Care Act has made it easier for workers who aren’t full-time employees to secure health insurance, gig-centric jobs aren’t likely to offer the support of HR professionals to help workers understand and manage such plans. This kind of support – not to mention the security of a steady paycheck and a retirement nest egg – are great points to touch on when competing with the gig economy for talent.


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