Understanding The Gig Economy And What It Means For Market Research
The gig economy is here, it’s growing, and it’s doing so unabated. Growth in freelance workers is nearly doubling year-over-year, and as a result, businesses are increasingly hiring freelance workers to meet changes in demand.
But what does that mean for the market research industry? And what do you need to know in order to adapt to the changes in the workforce?
What is the Gig Economy?
Simply put, the gig economy is a free market system in which organizations contract with independent workers for temporary engagements. Created as a response to a changing job market and driven by technology, the gig economy is changing the landscape of how people find, hire, and retain talent.
The numbers don’t lie. If you are skeptical to just how much the gig economy is changing things, consider this:
- There are 57.3 million freelancers working in the U.S.
- Gig economy workers contribute $1.4 trillion to the US economy annually.
- By 2020, half of the U.S. workers will be freelancers.
- The majority of the gig economy and freelance job growth is driven by 18-34 year olds.
The gig economy isn’t new, but it is certainly seeing new light in the 21st century. There is a lot of speculation as to why the gig economy is growing so rapidly and what it means for the workforce, however, our focus is on what the rise of the gig economy means for market research and the implications it will have on the industry.
The Gig Economy in Market Research
As market researchers, we talk a lot about the rapid rate of change and the disruption caused by new technologies and innovative solutions. And, lo and behold, the research and insight industry is undergoing profound and fundamental changes. With that are serious implications for its greatest asset: talent.
The increase of automation and DIY solutions, adoption of new methods, and the emergence of smart research have all found their way to prominence in our industry. The changing shape of data, the growth of large data, and the demand for more agile analysis are blurring the lines of traditional industry pillars. The skill sets you needed on your team in the past (such as quantitative and qualitative) are not the same skills you need today.
Talent in the market research industry continues to learn and improve the breadth of their skills to adapt to these changes, but that takes time – making hiring the right talent even more difficult. Additionally, there is more competition with large tech companies for talent than ever before. It’s not easy finding a researcher with the right data analytics skills when companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix are able to pay so much more.
These challenges are leaving many companies worried about how they’ll keep up. Where will their talent come from? Who will be their savior?
Enter the gig economy.
While things change within the industry, there has also been a parallel growth of experts within the industry that are looking for something different in their careers. They want more flexibility – to choose where they work, when they work, and what job they are there to do.
These workers want to work independently. This offers the opportunity to globally tap into their expertise as is needed; a windfall for the company fearing a shortage of quality talent. But it also means companies need to be equally agile in securing the available talent. As the inevitable growth of the market takes place, the key for agencies will be finding the right talent at the right time.
The gig economy is good for market research. You can select a highly qualified research professional for a short term, and deliver high-quality insights on time. All you need is a way to find them.