- Nearly 1 in 5 gig workers prefer external work with the main motivation being increased flexibility
- Only 18% quoted not having any better employment options as the reason for becoming a gig worker
New research, recently conducted by SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) and SAP SuccessFactors, has highlighted that the common perception that most gig workers turn to the sector because they can’t find permanent full-time employment is actually off the mark.
The majority (74%) of the 1,700 managers, internal employees and gig/external workers surveyed indicated that this is actually not the case and they choose gig work for reasons other than not being able to find permanent work.
Indeed, nearly 1 in 5 gig/external workers prefer external work with the main motivation being increased flexibility, autonomy and being able to influence their hours, schedule and locations for work.
When asked what persuaded them to become a gig/external worker, respondents cited the following as their top reasons:
- 49% quoted being able to set their own schedule
- 40% quoted being able to choose how many hours they work
- 33% quoted being able to choose which location they worked from.
Alexander Alonso, SHRM’s chief knowledge officer commenting on the results said: “This research is, by far, the broadest examination of external workers to date. By collecting and incorporating multiple perspectives, we produced a unique view of external workers and identified not only how they are misunderstood at present but also how they might be managed better in the future.”
In fact, only 18% quoted not having any better employment options as the reason for becoming a gig/external worker and 45% said they see advantages in both external and traditional work, but they are working externally now.
When asked to speculate on which benefits might attract gig/external workers to their organizations, respondents overestimated the value of both healthcare and paid time off to these workers but on the other hand, they also underestimated the value retirement benefits were to gig/external workers.
Interestingly, gig/external workers reported “being recognized for contributions at work” and “being thanked” as the factors that most encouraged them to perform at their best, more than a bonus or being paid on time.
Hence, the research clearly highlights that we all need to understand more on what motivates gig/external workers in order to attract the best of the best. We cannot make assumptions that these workers are highly motivated to become permanent employees when the real motive is a desire for flexibility and autonomy that being a regular employee simply cannot provide.