PEOPLE lose jobs when companies fail to compete with the technology-enabled alternatives which offer new inventions and modifications in an attempt to stay relevant with existing customers as well as to attract new customers.
One example, the travel agencies – losing to online travel booking websites, Uber services is replacing the traditional taxis, and Netflix has taken over the entertainment industry. However, the food and retail industries have restructured their business models with more online options and home deliveries. These disruptions are increasing with job cuts around the world.
The word ‘Gig’ often relates to artists or performing artistes to play for explicit functions or momentary commitment. In any case, this trendy expression has streamed its approach to practically any sort of work, especially on an impromptu or impermanent premise.
The gig economy refers to independent employments without a full-time job, or any temporary (short-term) contract employment such as freelancing, temporary work and jobs in the sharing economies. This burgeoning segment has almost 150 million workers in North America and Europe. Malaysia has approximately four million freelancers in 2018 and the number is growing.
E-hailing and startups seem to dominate the gig economy. There are currently more than 160,000 e-hailing drivers in Malaysia. The younger adults readily accept this new way of life due to the advancement of internet technologies and the social media. They do not need to operate or work from an office or a fixed location.
They only need a device and good Internet connection to complete the tasks and to receive payment in return. There are many crowdsourcing platforms that promotes freelancing jobs such as Freelancer, Upwork, and the Malaysian-based, FixApa. The freelance-hiring specialist and gig economy platform, FixApa allows companies to engage talented and qualified freelancers for project-based job opportunities worldwide.
The top skills identified by the freelancers are interpersonal skills, time management, communication and business networking, independent problem solving, and negotiation with clients. The gig economy provides freedom and flexibility in getting the job completed within the stipulated time given.
Gigsters get to choose who they want to work for and whether they want to work again with the same clients. They do work that most satisfy their passion and interests. There are less or no office politics or the need to please anyone other than the boss (client).
However, the gig employment does come with many disadvantages of not being in full time employment. There is no fixed monthly income. Gigsters must always be on the lookout for available gigs, and it can also be difficult to juggle multiple projects at the same time. In addition, the clients do not provide health or insurance benefits.
To navigate through the ever changing and challenging gig economic landscape, is by taking disruptive approaches while becoming nimble, flexible and agile. Disruption can happen in any industry. Top management may face immense difficulty in hiring and recruitment. The key point is to stay relevant in any employment.
The Malaysian government provides incentives involving the welfare of gig workers in Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (Penjana), with a package of RM75 million. This measure incorporates a coordinating award of up to RM50 million for Gig Economy stages that add to the employees through Socso and EPF’s I-Saraan, and RM25 million for Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Global Online Workforce (GLOW) programs.
Penjana also seeks to appeal by encompassing the social security of the recipients. Moreover, the dispatch of RM100 million by the Ministry of Higher Education’s Penjana Career Advancement Program (KPT-CAP) is somewhat opportune to upgrade the outsourcing ability of graduates in a Gig Economy.
In addition, there is a need to empower the young graduates on the possibilities of the gig economy. These fresh graduates are in direct competition with those who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. In Malaysia (August 2020), the unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent does not make it easy for these graduates with less work experience.
Universities may incorporate the knowledge of the gig economy into their curricullum or career services and prepare students to succeed as independent employees. The university’s career services should focus on the rising incidence of independent work in the gig economy.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a wake up call for working adults on the importance of being fast, flexible and agile in realizing the potentials of the gig economy. This disruption is inevitable.
Fixapa is a Shared Service Platform, To register please go to FixApa Gigster Sign up page