More than half of workforces across Europe will be made up of so-called “gig workers”, research shows.
A poll of HR directors by global consulting firm Aon suggests that 26% of European HR directors believe that in five years’ time their workforces will comprise 51-75% gig workers.
The survey, of HR directors (HRDs) and workers while 18% of UK HRDs believe 75% or more of their workforce will be made up of contractors over the same period.
Andrew Cunningham, Chief Commercial Officer, EMEA Health Solutions, Aon, said: “If businesses want to continue to draw upon the responsive talents and skills of gig workers, they need a better understanding of the economic outlook that this group of workers will face in a post-COVID-19 world.
“The reality is, that the pandemic has already had a considerable impact on them. While some are operating our delivery services, food, transport and sanitation industries – and have proved to be vital to running our economies – the same can’t be said for white collar gig workers where the pandemic, in some cases, has been devastating for their work.
“Businesses should be concerned about their responsibility and duty of care towards their gig workforce. If we are to get the best out of people, gig workers and traditional employees need to be treated equally, regardless of their contracts. Both groups are likely to have similar concerns, financial pressures and commitments.”
Matt Lawrence, Chief Broking Officer, EMEA Health Solutions, Aon, said the factors driving the “exponential” growth of the gig economy will force businesses to address frameworks and structures that have previously created a “two-tier system” within the workforce.
Lawrence said: “More than two-thirds of gig workers said they would feel more engaged and positive towards the company they worked for if it offered an attractive health and benefits package.
“While legal and regulatory factors might play a part in an organisation’s thinking around benefit provision for gig workers, organisations can’t afford to have a blind spot when it comes to attracting talent as we look to the future.
“If businesses are going continue to be resilient and thrive in the future, they should be actively listening to all sections of their workforce. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
“Organisations may not even need to provide the solution, but instead, commit to signposting gig workers to help and support that enriches their wellbeing. If organisations can plug in benefits that further supplement that, then their offering can become even stronger.”
Aon polled 200 HR directors, 150 B2B/white collar gig workers and 150 B2C/blue collar gig workers across France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the UK for the research.
66% of gig workers say it is important to plan financially for the future as well as enjoying the present.
64% say security and stability are important to them.
54% are worried about their future and finances.
67% of gig workers would be more likely to recommend a company to friends as a good place to work if they were offered an attractive health and benefits package
67% would feel more engaged and positive towards the company they are working for if they were offered benefits
66% said they would feel more valued