Indeed, these are key pillars of the gig economy, but with some 4.4 million people in England and Wales now working for gig economy platforms at least once a week, the picture is somewhat more complex than purely providing B2C services.
Increasingly, businesses are turning to these platforms in the hope of finding highly skilled talent.
The gig economy:
Where are the tech workers?
According to TechNation, there were over 2 million UK job vacancies in tech last year, more than any other area. The reason? A lack of essential digital skills.
Former education minister Michelle Donelan even committed that: “Employers both large and small are crying out for more people to be trained in digital skills.”
With remote and hybrid working the norm for many businesses, we now live in the age of the 'digital nomad': employees can apply their skills no matter where they are in the world and make a living without having to physically travel to work.
If we combine this with the fact the STEM skills shortage is already costing UK businesses £1.5 billion a year, it’s no wonder more entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the freedom that gig platforms offer.
The idea of the gig economy being a blue-collar B2C service is rapidly becoming outdated.
As more businesses plan their remote working futures, the gig economy of contractors and skilled workers is being replaced by an expert economy made up of subject matter experts and industry leaders. Scientific and academic businesses are the ones that will benefit from this shift, with a rapid influx of experts, researchers, content writers and other specialists rebranding themselves as available for flexible hire.
Preparing your business
In my experience, companies hiring freelancers for the first time often experience initial hurdles: getting the necessary HR policies in place, adjusting payroll processes and factoring contract employees into recruitment strategies.
Once businesses owners overcome these challenges, it becomes easier to hire a second, third or more specialists.
Business culture is critical and so is preparing in-house teams for working with freelancers. Is the team used to working with freelancers? If not, it’s important to set parameters and specify the scope of the freelancer’s role as early as possible to reassure permanent staff.
It’s easy to overlook these subtle measures, but they’re just as important for the onboarding process as any contract signing or formality.
Remote working is here to stay and business-owners can take advantage of this by hiring from talent pools all over the globe.
By tapping into the growing expert economy, platforms like Kolabtree are moving beyond the B2C sphere to provide specialist skills for business across a wide range of highly technical industries.
Ashmita Das is CEO of Kolabtree