The labor market has been robust over the past few years, leaving the 2008 employment meltdown a distant memory for many. This is especially true for millennials who were too young to remember its impact.
Millennials now represent the largest active generation in the workforce and are not only driving the full-time employment market, but are also fueling the gig economy forward beyond ride sharing.
As we look ahead into 2019, a few prominent trends are emerging that may shift the gig economy and employment in America.
1. The “Uberization” of Hourly Work: News broke recently that Uber is quietly planning to enter the part-time staffing market (Uber Works) by expanding their platform beyond ride sharing. This makes too much sense as Uber has amassed an on-demand workforce of millions who can extend their services beyond driving. And with Uber’s upcoming IPO, analysts are looking for new revenue sources and markets for Uber to disrupt. This seems like a logical move and a possible big threat to staffing giants like Adecco, Manpower, and Randstad.
2. The “UpWork” Effect: Traditional IT Staffing companies for years have been trying to figure out a way to digitize their business and compete with UpWork. Now that UpWork is public, they have inspired companies like Adecco to answer with innovative new services like Yoss to address the technical freelance workforce.
3. More Consolidation: IAC/Angie’s List has been active over the past few years acquiring Home Advisor and now Handy, and Ikea made a bold and clever move in buying TaskRabbit. Look for more consolidation as Postmates, DoorDash, and Instacart battle it out for delivery dominance. Could FedEx or UPS acquire their way into the gig economy? Only time will tell.
4. Blockchain Disruption: Incumbent staffing and recruiting firms typically take sizable chunks of a worker’s paycheck as do Uber, Lyft, Fiverr, and UpWork. Look for more blockchain disruption from up and coming P2P hiring platforms where middlemen firms get squeezed and their models disintermediated. Keep an eye on Moonlighting, a hybrid of LinkedIn and Uber, that is scaling fast to bring the gig economy mainstream. Backed by the leading news media companies and boasting of 700K freelancers available for hire on-demand, Moonlighting could be one of the most disruptive companies with its open platform and unique combination of freelancing and on-demand hiring solutions.
5. More Venture Investment in Human Capital: Venture capitalist are often one step ahead of trends and their investments in the gig economy are no exception. Recent investments in Wonolo ($32M) and Workable ($50M) show that venture firms are readying for what they see as a potential market stepback and a shift from full-time to more part-time contingent work.
With the possibility of another recession looming and potential job losses coming with it, these trends will have major implications for how the gig workforce will look in the year ahead, the role corporations will play in this evolving landscape, and the technologies that are helping to drive the marketplace shift. Keep an eye on this evolution and happy new year!