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The Gig Economy is Thriving in Asia-Pacific


SINGAPORE, 5th April 2018 - New research from KellyOCG, a global workforce solutions provider, with an extensive network presence in APAC, provides insight into why companies hire gig workers and what the most innovative among them do differently from their peers. Surveying 2,100 talent managers worldwide with around 400 residing in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region—across industries and career disciplines—KellyOCG uncovered new insights about gig adoption rates, the outlook for gig hiring, the growing influence of independents, and areas for competitive innovation.

 

“KellyOCG has long advocated for a more flexible work arrangement besides the traditional “9-5” workday, as well as integrating permanent and contingent talent in organisations. Companies in APAC who optimise their workforce by taking a holistic approach, reap greater benefits and the competitive advantage of a more agile workforce,” said Peter Hamilton, Vice President & Regional Director of APAC at KellyOCG.

 

KellyOCG defines gig work (also known as free agency) as any type of work in which talent is paid for a discrete task, project, or a period of time. This includes diversified workers with many sources of incomes, contract workers or freelancers, small business owners, temporary workers or moonlighters.

 

The most noteworthy survey findings include:

  • Gig work thriving globally: 65% of talent/hiring managers say the gig economy is rapidly becoming the new normal for how businesses organise work. The APAC region has outpaced the rest of the world with 84% (APAC) of talent managers hiring or using gig workers.
  • A flexible workforce is the way forward: 3 in 4 talent/hiring managers in APAC (79%) say a much more flexible and fluid workforce will emerge as a way to navigate an increasingly dynamic global business climate.
  • Workers are free agents by choice: 75% of global free agents choose gig work for positive reasons, seeing it as a way to improve their personal and professional lives.
  • The advantages are clear: Globally 43% of organisations engaging gig workers experience at least a 20% labour cost savings and 72% say using gig workers/free agent talent gives their team/organisation a competitive advantage.

“Companies can harness the full value that these workers bring if they are successfully embedded into the organisations they work for. With APAC being a key contributor to the global gig economy, there is an urgency to introduce a more agile way of working to fully leverage the gig economy and move ahead,” added Pete.

 

The Kelly research includes a Workforce Optimisation Maturity Index which provides insight into the maturity level with which firms currently leverage the gig workforce. Those that use gig workers less effectively than their peers are called laggards; those with stronger skills and commensurate benefits are competents and differentiators. The most-skilled organisations are innovators.

 

To understand the full potential of the gig workforce, watch the innovators. They make up just 13% of all companies but can reap big rewards when it comes to deploying and leveraging gig labour. Innovators are heavy users of gig labour and are committed to building a more flexible and fluid workforce. They also tend to use independents for highly visible and strategic challenges as they view gig workers not as outsiders, but as a critical and valuable component of the overall workforce. Innovators are also highly advanced in how they use technology to aid in the practices and processes of managing gig labour and are good at onboarding and retaining them. Not surprisingly, this group reports the highest level of cost savings: innovators are nearly 3 times more likely than laggards to save over 30% on labour cost.

 

Within the report, KellyOCG also identified headwinds and tailwinds that are working together to shape the gig economy. These include the following:

  • Skills gap: Companies today need a ready supply of knowledge workers in emerging areas of expertise to stay competitive.
  • Work/life design: More and more freelancers are opting for gig work by choice rather than economic necessity. As independents, they have greater autonomy about how, when and where to work—and employers are feeling pressure to adapt to these preferences. The research shows seven out of 10 talent managers using free agents see the employer-worker relationship shifting, with talent asserting more leverage.
  • Technology advancements: The surge in the “human cloud” (technologies that enable virtual collaboration) have made gig work much more cost-effective and productive. Technological improvements, generally, have enabled more people to work from anywhere – creating a cycle of increasing demand to have more flexibility in their work style.
  • Economic pressure: Volatile market conditions have made many employers wary of adding to their permanent payrolls and more receptive to the concept of a scalable, variable workforce in order to be competitive.

Embracing (or confronting) these dynamics can help leading organisations craft a pathway to the benefits that go along with a highly agile workforce strategy.

 

Survey Methodology: The 2017 Gig Economy Talent Manager Research was conducted online by Inavero on behalf of Kelly Services. The study surveyed over 2,100 talent managers from around the globe.

 

To view the full report and for additional information, please click here.

 

About KellyOCG

KellyOCG®, the Outsourcing and Consulting Group of workforce solutions provider, Kelly Services®, is the leading global advisor of talent strategies that enable companies to achieve their business goals by aligning talent strategy to business strategy. We recognise each client’s goals are unique to their business drivers. Whether your talent requirements are focused on speed, quality, compliance or cost, we apply supply chain management principles to help companies fully leverage talent across all categories: full-time employees, temporary employees, freelancers, independent contractors, and service providers, as well as alternate sources of workers like retirees, alumni, and online talent communities.

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