The professional gig economy: Helping more people find work

Croud’s report on the professional gig economy explores the rise of new working models across the globe and how it is impacting the professional world. This article looks at ASTRiiD charity – a contributor within the report – and other insights shared to highlight how the professional gig economy is enabling people, for whom traditional employment does not suit, the opportunity to find work.

Untapped talent: how the gig economy helps people get into work

Whether due to time constraints, fitness or family commitments, for some professionals traditional employment models are unsuitable. That’s where the professional gig economy offers more; giving businesses the opportunity to employ skilled people, who would otherwise struggle to find work. As the workplace continues to change at an accelerating pace, this untapped talent pool is being connected with more and more businesses willing to hire for jobs compatible with their lives.

In our white paper exploring the gig economy, we spoke to charities and individuals making the most of the flexibility provided by freelance or contract work, highlighting the importance of connecting professionals with companies who can use their talents.

ASTRiiD and the “invisible talent pool”

ASTRiiD (Available Skills for Training, Refreshing, Improvement, Innovation and Development) is an initiative set up by the late David Shutts, OBE, to help people with long-term health conditions work if they need and want to. During his own experience with cancer, David found the familiarity and routine of a job was an important coping mechanism; but the reality is that many people with health conditions struggle to find a place in the traditional working environment. 

After David passed away in May 2018 his brother Steve worked to make ASTRiiD a lasting legacy, and today the charity helps candidates across the UK with finding work and building new skills. With over 220 businesses looking to tap into this previously “invisible” talent pool, the charity is a huge success, finding opportunities for people that might otherwise be unable to secure a position. 

Helping people work

That’s one of the crucial benefits of this changing trend: employing professionals outside of the office environment. 

Take Rory, a self-taught technology expert, who has extensive physical disabilities which prevented him from securing a job in the industry. ASTRiiD matched him with the London School of Economics, taking his skills and applying them in a way that suited him; Rory is now able to work the unsociable shifts that were often needed during the hours he struggled to sleep. 

And for parents, too, this flexible economy can bring greater financial security. Reduced childcare costs are a huge positive: our report found that some parents of under-twos pay up to £9,100 a year for part-time childcare in London, and throughout the rest of the country costs can often outweigh the benefits of taking a job with fixed hours. 

By working the hours that suit their family’s needs, professionals can maximise their income and spend more time with children than when working full-time.

Supplementing traditional recruiting

The potential to supplement traditional methods of recruitment is a huge part of ASTRiiD’s mission, educating companies on the advantages of a greater talent pool with the ability to quickly source staff on demand.

One IT consultancy helped by the charity has saved 80% of its annual legal bill through recruiting someone on a regular basis for legal contract support, and other businesses save money by reducing their cost-per-person basis in the office. Teams can be scaled up or down as demand requires, making the teams agile, profitable and able to mobilise quicker than traditional training and recruitment models.

For many, the professional gig economy is primarily a way to get greater flexibility in their work/life balance, but for some, it’s the route into professional, well-paying work. As far back as 2015, HR professionals said they expected a fifth of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers by 2020: it’s likely, then, that we’ll see this invisible talent pool bringing more to our economy as this uptake continues.

Click here to download Croud’s report on The professional gig economy. To find out more about Croud and our Croudie Network model, get in touch.

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