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Gig economy fuels 'portfolio careers' as the new normal

21 Oct 2019
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Love it or hate it, the gig economy looks like it will be sticking around for years to come, and as a result ‘portfolio careers’ may end up becoming the new normal for the on-demand workforce.

Or at least that’s according to founder and CEO of fintech firm HNRY, James Fuller.  He believes that the future of work is happening right now – to the point where it should be called the ‘present’ of work.

He explains, “We’re seeing more people with ‘portfolio careers’ across a diverse range of skills. Attitudes towards careers are changing with more New Zealanders seeking variety in their work life, and opting for ‘portfolio careers’ which enables a person to have a series of jobs over shorter periods of time, rather than permanent employment.”

He adds that organisations should approach the gig economy in a way that combines a core of permanent staff who are supported by shorter-term specialist resources. Businesses will need to consider the balance between permanent and contract recruitment.

Fuller adds that the growing number of independent earners in New Zealand has seen a rise in products and services catering for ways of working. Hnry, was an attempt to make life easier for independent earners as James had experienced the challenges of contracting in the past himself.

“The ‘gig economy’ isn’t just Uber and Airbnb - it’s actually independent earners and is a much larger group than people think i.e. around 15% of the NZ population earn independently. They could be freelancers, contractors, consultants, sole traders or self-employed,” explains Fuller.

“We have eight full time staff, and probably another six or seven contingent workers that work for us on demand, some for just a few hours a week. This means that we can get the value of their experience, at a price we can afford. These specialists don’t want a permanent job, and there’s no way we could afford their skills full time.”

“Leveraging specialist on demand resource can provide organisations with the opportunity to experiment, get external experience and to innovate.”

Fuller recently spoke at the Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association Australia and New Zealand (RCSA) Tech Xpo last month, which showcased how digital platforms are reportedly driving the industry.

RCSA chief operating officer Ian McPherson says Fuller’s presentation demonstrates how the gig economy is now well-entrenched in all levels of the workforce.

“Flexible opportunities and the ability to create multiple ways of earning that suit the lifestyle of gig workers never ceases to amaze me and the way businesses respond to this could be a big factor in their ability to attract and retain the right people at the right time.”