Gig Economy: Why you need to move to a flexible workforce

Over the past decade, the number of gig economy workers has increased by 25%, totalling at 4.7 million. 15% of workers in the UK are self-employed, and the sector is seen as one of the country’s biggest competitive advantages, contributing £275bn to the economy each year.

Flexibility and the freedom to choose when you work are just a couple of reasons why self-employment is appealing to workers. Not only that but the opportunity to work on various projects and gain experience from different organisations is what makes the gig economy particularly attractive to skilled in-demand talent.

However, these perks are beneficial to businesses as well as employees. Here are Socium’s top reasons why you should take advantage of a flexible workforce:

Access specific skills – when you need them

According to Harvard Business Review (HBR) “Companies that rely solely on full-time employees are finding they have neither the skills nor the agility to sustain success.” As we have discussed in one of our previous posts, there is a skills shortage in the tech industry. The tables have turned, and talented candidates now have their pick of job opportunities making it even more challenging to secure specific skillsets.

By moving from a permanent workforce structure to a more “liquid” model allows your business to access niche skills required for critical projects.

A concern which often comes up when discussing contractors with clients is that the knowledge gained will ultimately be lost once they complete their assignment. This is not the case though as self-employed talent can train your permanent workforce and help them to develop in-demand skills.

New thinking

Bringing external talent into your organisation enables fresh thinking, viewpoints, ideas and methodologies to your workplace.

Technological advancements are moving quicker now than ever before, and if your business doesn’t keep up, you could get left behind. 88% of the Fortune 500 firms that existed in 1955 have either gone bankrupt, merged, or still exist but have fallen from the top Fortune 500 companies. Many of these business failures could have been avoided if they had been open to innovation.

Companies that have easy access to talent banks will be able to efficiently unleash fresh energy and thinking into their organisations, react more nimbly, and take advantage of new technology.


Contrary to popular belief, being able to flex your workforce as and when required is cost-effective. Contractors can be called upon to work on high-level projects that were previously too costly to hire employees to work on full time.

Another concern our clients sometimes have is that they feel their systems are vastly complicated and that it would take too long for a contractor to get up to speed. However, in this instance, it would take a permanent employee a while to pick up also. The advantage of contractors is that they are used to working with a multitude of different systems and have significant expertise in solving problems under time constraints.

Navigate the unpredictability

Utilising a flexible workforce is a great way to access in-demand skillsets, but it has other business benefits too. Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said, “The more positive figures on hiring for temporary workers suggest that many businesses are turning to agency work to help them navigate the unpredictability they currently face. This might be driven by waiting to see whether permanent hiring is justified, or by using additional labour to meet demand rather than making big capital investments.”

With uncertainty in our economy affecting the majority of businesses in the UK, it is understandable why an increasing number are turning to temporary workers to optimise their workforce.

The world of work is evolving

Due to advancements in the workplace and society’s changing views on the world of work over the past decade, hiring managers and executives need to revise their traditional talent requirements. For some in-demand candidates, working for one company does not enable them to achieve all of their ambitions- whether that be in their career or life in general. Many tech professionals want to gain experience on an assortment of projects and in a variety of areas and workforces. For those businesses that understand these needs and can reinvigorate their workforce structure, they will be rewarded with new growth opportunities and ultimately become more efficient. These forward-thinking organisations will be able to access innovative ideas and utilise different sources of knowledge to resolve business-critical problems. The world of work is evolving. The world of on-demand talent is increasing. Isn’t it time you took advantage before your competitors do?

Need specialist resource for a project? Get in touch to see how we could help.

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