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When most hear the phrase “gig economy,” they immediately think about giants like Lyft and Uber. Personally, I use Lyft and Uber often while traveling and enjoy talking to drivers about why they choose to work in the gig economy, how long they have done so, and whether they enjoy their jobs. Most enjoy their gigs, and have been doing them for less than a year. Many of the drivers also have full-time jobs, but prefer the flexibility of making extra money during their down time.

When it rains, it pours. If you think back roughly nine years ago, at the crippling height of the economic downturn, employers were laying off workers en masse across all industries. Fast forward to 2017, and they can’t get enough of them. The concern has clearly shifted from no jobs to no workers.

As the U.S. unemployment continues to drop to pre-recession levels, the supply of motivated and qualified workers is tightening. Gig economy businesses competing for a shrinking supply of labor may want to consider turning to refugees and asylum seekers to fill their ranks. It turns out that giving gig platforms to resettled refugees and asylum seekers can boost profits and help companies adapt to a globalizing economy.

With the rise of the gig economy, IT companies are taking the approach many employers in the gig economy have taken in structuring their workforce. In an industry where full-time and part-time employees cohabit in the same space, some IT companies have been exploring the idea of and have shifted towards hiring contract workers, consultants, and freelancers to complete short-term projects. This “Uber-ization” of the workforce provides the flexibility many workers seek and helps alleviate the cost of reskilling employees in an industry where technology is rapidly changing.

Driven by a scarcity of qualified talent and the need for their companies to be increasingly agile and cost-effective, human resources (HR) leaders are increasing their focus on and preparing to embrace the mounting gig economy. According to software company Oracle, almost 40% of companies surveyed are currently hiring on a temporary or project basis, but that may be just the veritable tip of the iceberg. Half of HR decision makers say they will be hiring more workers on a project basis by 2020.  

For many, a new year brings new resolutions – a forward-looking plan and commitment to resolve issues, implement changes, and create new strategies for success. Businesses are no different. The gig market has been on the rise for several years now, and shows no signs of slowing down. Companies using little-to-no gig workers may want to reconsider their business plans, as these workers can provide many benefits to all different types of organizations across varying industries.

Much has been written about sharing economy companies such as Uber and the like whose very core is fueled by a contingent workforce connected to consumers through a digital platform. But a recent report stresses that even more traditional employers are “reshaping their talent management initiatives” with the understanding that the definition of “contingent labor” itself has taken on a whole new meaning. The report – “The State of Contingent Workforce Management 2016-2017: Adapting to a New World of Work” – was published by Ardent Brothers (in conjunction with SAP Fieldglass) and includes a wealth of knowledge for businesses trying to “thrive in this new corporate paradigm.”

The on-demand economy has a number of obvious benefits to individuals who wish to make money on their own terms by creating their own hours and essentially being their own boss. Likewise, gig economy staples such as Uber and Lyft have seen they can effectively serve their clientele by utilizing such individuals in lieu of hiring employees. However, as the popularity of this relationship continues to increase, more and more “traditional” companies are discovering that they can, and should, likewise incorporate aspects of the gig economy into their own organizational structure.

Apparently, even a “no decision” decision by the U.S. Supreme Court can still establish precedent.

Relying on a Spring 2016 SCOTUS decision, a federal magistrate judge in California dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit by a driver against the ride-sharing company, Lyft, Inc., which had alleged privacy violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero ruled on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 that the driver, Michael Nokchan, lacked “standing” – the right to sue – guaranteed under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, because he could not demonstrate he suffered “concrete harm” as a result of Lyft’s manner of conducting background checks on job applicants.

When my third child was born, like many other young mothers, I considered how to stay connected professionally, how to maintain my standard of living, and how to balance the joy of parenting with the fulfillment of a career. In those days, I hadn’t heard of the gig economy, but I certainly dreamed of something like it. I wanted to work on my own terms that matched my new family’s schedule. I could demand my own price and take care of my own savings plans, I thought.

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