Permanent staff treated better than gig workers

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Employers admit to fragmented governance models for managing their contingent workforce

Nearly six in 10 (58%) gig economy workers believe that full-time permanent employees are treated better, according to research from EY.

Perhaps as a result, a quarter (25%) of contingent workers said that they would ‘go the extra mile’ for their employers if they were permanent employees. Another 25% said they feel ambivalent or disconnected from their employer’s business objectives.

A lack of benefits was a concern for 68% of contingent workers, and most gig workers worry about lack of paid vacation, or sick or personal leave (63%). They also reported concern around job uncertainty and lack of job security (48%).

When it came to employers, 37% admitted to having fragmented governance models for managing their contingent workforce. A third (31%) are using multiple-vendor management systems.

Tony Steadman, principal of people advisory services at EY, said employers must find ways to better manage a workforce of both permanent staff and gig workers.

“When talent feels unengaged or like they are treated poorly that’s a management issue more than an intrinsic element of contingent work,” he said.

“It’s critical for employers to develop better methods of managing their increasingly contingent workforce and to consider some of the key HR processes and analytics that can have a negative effect on what could ideally be a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Craig McCoy, interim COO at charity Brandon Trust, explained the importance of inducting short-term employees effectively. “Within the gig economy there is a community of senior interim professionals who prefer not to be employed on a permanent basis but who actively seek client opportunities that are relatively short in nature,” he told HR magazine. “Interims thrive on the changing nature of their roles and assignments, and in negotiating fee rates they take account of the lack of paid leave and other benefits associated with permanent employment.

“However, for clients to get the best from interims and achieve the greatest business benefits it is important to induct them as quickly and efficiently as possible – ensuring they have access to a desk, phone, PC, email account, etcetera and that they are provided with access to all the necessary data, reports and key stakeholders. Also ensure that there is a proper service contract in place and invoices are paid promptly.

“Much of this can be arranged before the interim actually starts; it's often the practical details that matter the most."

The EY research also highlighted the rapid expansion of gig working. It found that around half (49%) of large organisations with 100,000 employees or more have increased their use of gig economy workers over the last five years, and that two-fifths (40%) expect to do so in the next five years.

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