How Covid-19 will transform the gig-economy in Malaysia

Participation in the gig economy has grown rapidly over the past few years, and expanded exponentially since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, due in part to the increased reliance on gig workers (gigsters) to home-deliver necessities to consumers. Furthermore, the crisis has upended the traditional 9-5 working world and caused many blue- and white-collar employees to pursue gig work for additional – or even primary – income during these unprecedented times.

As the world starts to more fully embrace this new way of working, which will undoubtedly continue to grow post-pandemic, talent leaders must plan for this inevitable shift and find new ways to support workers to ensure the gig economy’s long-term viability. 

While there is no universal definition of gigsters, making them a difficult cohort to categorize, some estimates predict that gig workers represent around 18 percent of the Malaysian workforce in 2020, that means roughly 4 million Malaysians currently engage in some type of gig work that contributes more than RM254 billion (according to PwC Malaysia) to the Malaysian. economy annually. Those figures are only expected to grow, with some predicting that freelance workers will make up more than quarter of the Malaysian workforce by 2023.

However, these estimates were made before COVID-19, and it is important that we understand and plan for how the world of work and the gig economy will fundamentally change post-pandemic:

Job Flexibility Is More Appealing, and Potentially More Necessary, Than Ever

One of the biggest benefits of the gig economy is the flexibility it offers, both in terms of working hours and the types of jobs that workers can take on. In fact, before the pandemic, around 70 percent of gigsters reported that they participated in the gig economy out of choice and because it provided more flexibility, and sometimes more income, than a full-time job. While this flexibility has always been appealing, since the start of COVID-19, it is likely that many full-time employees have had to reluctantly join the gig economy out of necessity.

Given that the pandemic has forced many offices and schools to close their physical doors, working parents have been forced to become both remote employees and homeschool teachers during the day. Without the option of having someone watch their children, many parents – and especially working women – have had to leave their 9-5 jobs to care for their families and have taken on gig jobs.

Gig work allows individuals to focus on their families during the day and pick-up work where and when it best fits into their schedule. How this trend could impact full-time work remains to be seen, but traditional employers may need to adapt and offer increased flexibility to full-time employees who have become accustomed to more flexible gig work arrangements during the pandemic.

Competition for Gig Work Has Increased

Although demand for gigsters has accelerated since the start of the pandemic, competition for gig jobs has also increased. Workers who participate in the gig economy as their sole source of income must now compete with one another, as well as previously full-time employees who have been forced into gig work. Additionally, as more and more Malaysians turn to the gig economy, workers face challenges in securing the benefits they once enjoyed. While this may be a cost advantage for some businesses that rely on gig talent, workers themselves will have to strengthen their personal brand and expand their skill set to secure the most viable opportunities.

A Strong Social Contract Will Become a Requirement

The global health crisis we are living through has placed even greater emphasis on the rights, benefits and protections that businesses offer to their workers, otherwise known as the social contract. While many Malaysian gigsters choose a more flexible lifestyle and don’t wish to be hired as full-time employees, debate continues around what benefits and protections businesses should offer to all workers in their organization.

It is undeniable that the gig economy has become an integral part of the Malaysian workforce, a trend that has only been accelerated during the pandemic. Millions of employees are deciding to pursue a working arrangement that better fits with their lifestyle than what current full-time work often provides. However, the growth of the gig economy also raises important questions about the protections its workers are entitled to, and the long-term viability of this working arrangement if those protections aren’t provided.

Now is the time for businesses to reevaluate the role gigsters play in their organization and create a plan to retain them in the future. While their growing ranks may provide workforce agility and cost efficiency, as the economy looks to improve in 2021 or early 2022, employers will have to consider how to retain the best gig workers to help their organization accelerate recovery efforts in the months and years ahead.

Why FixApa Should Be Your Choice?

  • FixApa is a Social Marketplace, where the social being of our gigsters is our main priority.
  • FixApa enables its gigsters to work in various markets, to be able to better meet the demands of the industry.
  • FixApa gives the advantage for its gigsters of having the upper hand in quoting prices for their work.
  • FixApa also enables its gigsters to change jobs several times as their working lives permit, thereby allowing a work-life balance.
  • FixApa provides the customer with a variety of options and services to choose from.
  • The customer can select the best individuals for specific projects from a wide range of geography.
  • The customer are also in possession of a flexible workforce.
  • FixApa has encouraged its customers to improve the diversity of the workforce in their strategic plans.
  • Businesses and organizations can save resources in terms of training, benefits, and office space.
  • Gig Economy will quickly being adopted as a new source of economic growth in Malaysia, and it is considered as being part of the 12th Malaysian plan and economic development plan.

If you are interested to be a FixApa gigster, please click here to register.

Jojo the Fixer

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