Working in the “Gig Economy”

data point tuesday_500

Last week I introduced you to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2015 report which I suggested should be required reading for HR. This report, which really should have been titled, The Internet in 2015 Is All About HR, shared important data points and analysis relating to basic HR functions and the impact the internet is having on basic organization functions.

This week, I’d like to point out the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, A Labor Market That Works: Connecting Talent With Opportunity in the Digital Age. Even if you only the read the Executive Summary, this is worth your time. It’s full of employment-related data from the major global economies as it links those statistics to the growing impact of online talent platforms – and their potential, in the gig economy, to transform both the employer/employee relationship and how workers find work and build economic opportunity. It’s important information and their analysis of (mostly) Linkedin data are arresting.

The report is organized into three broad topics: Better, fast matching; Economic impact; and Talent management for companies. All three topics could sustain a full report on their own, but I’ll focus on the second: Economic impact. The gig economy powered by online talent platforms, by their analysis, will be contributing $2.7 trillion to global GDP by 2025. They do the math by analyzing three channels of impact:

  • Increasing labor force participation and hours worked among part-time employees
  • Reducing unemployment
  • Raising labor productivity

McKinsey Exhibit 13 June 9 2015

This adds 72 million workers to the global workforce and adds a full 2% to the projected world GDP for 2025. The largest impact, $1.3 trillion, come from great labor participation and more hours worked. Shortening job searches and creating matches that would not have been otherwise will lower unemployment rates, creating the second biggest impact at $805 billion. The third biggest impact is the increase of productivity through higher quality job matches and a shift to formal employment from informal grows global GDP by $625 billion.

But their analysis also shows that the positive impact of the gig economy is greater than dollars as 540 million people (nearly 70% more than the current population of the United States) will benefit from these new ways of connecting workers to work. That’s big, right? And that’s only 10 years from now.

McKinsey Exhibit 14 June 9 2015

As an HR leader, are you concerned about the talent pipeline? Having trouble filling your current open positions? Wondering if the use of internet based solutions will produce better results? The real question may be, “how fast can I start implementing online talent platform solutions in order to connect workers to the work we have available?”

The report continues to make the economic case for the positive impact of internet enabled platforms by predicting their use could reduce public spending on labor market programs, allocating as much as $89 billion/year from unemployment benefits savings to education and vocational training programs to ensure a skilled talent pipeline. McKinsey also predicts that online talent platforms may increase innovation, strengthen productivity and generally “improve the development of human capital across economies.”

This is Big Data at its best: boiled down to useful constructs. The full report is 100 pages. I recommend that you download it and take it section by section. I think you’ll be glad you did.

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1 Comment

Filed under Analytics, Big Data and HR, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Gig Economy, HR Analytics, HR Data, McKinsey, Online Talent Platforms

One response to “Working in the “Gig Economy”

  1. adigaskell

    It’s tempting to only look at the plus side of this though. There are many pitfalls of a freelance/gig based lifestyle, whether that’s a lack of legislative support (healthcare, maternity/sick leave, pension provision etc.), the challenges involved in training yourself and ensuring you’re as productive as possible, and of course, actually finding the work to begin with.

    I’m largely in favour of the flexibility that it affords, but if we’re to debate this change in how we work its important to look at both sides of the coin.

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