How to Beat the Gig Economy (Spoiler: You Can’t)

Over the past handful of years, we’ve seen a massive increase in the number of people who have entered into the gig economy. According to The Federal Reserve, 3 in 10 adults were a part of the gig economy as of 2017. That number has certainly risen as we enter 2020. For example, there were over 833,000 registered Uber drivers in the United States in 2018. The number of Lyft drivers in the US as of 2017 is estimated to be around 1.4 million. Keep in mind, we’re only talking about ride sharing services. On-demand delivery gigs for food, groceries and general merchandise is also on the rise. In fact, there’s a very good chance your last Amazon delivery was done by an independent contractor.

So how would a typical recruiter compete in this rapidly changing landscape? How do you overcome the gig economy boom? Honestly, it’s not an easy nut to crack, but it helps to understand why so many are flocking to the gig economy in the first place and work from there.


What the gig economy lacks in consistency, it makes up for in flexibility. Gig workers cherish the independence that’s offered to them. They “clock in” whenever they want, work for however long they want, and they don’t have to worry about answering to a boss. There are also some services that allow workers to cash out their earnings every day. To them, the bi-weekly paycheck is an inconvenient relic of the past.

No Commitment

I mentioned earlier how the gig economy can be inconsistent. What I mean by that is it’s difficult for a worker to predict how much money they’ll be bringing in. A good portion of their earnings comes from tips, and the other portion is determined by the demand in their area. This seems like a deal-breaker on the surface, but there’s nothing stopping them from working for multiple services simultaneously. When one app’s business slows down, they can just start up another. It’s extremely tricky to duplicate this with traditional 9-5 jobs.

So What Can You Do?

The good news is the gig economy is not for everyone. This is especially true if you are recruiting for jobs that require specific skill sets earned through experience or higher education. These are the areas you may want to focus your recruitment efforts on. Putting more time and resources into employee retention could also stop workers from jumping ship. While you may not be able to offer the same amount of flexibility a gig job can, you may be able to make traditional full-time work appear more attractive. Does your company offer work from home days? Is there a standard in place that gives staff a day or two to work on their own passion projects? How often do you do company outings? Incorporating things like this could prevent some workers from succumbing to the gig economy’s siren call.

All in all, the best defense against the gig economy is understanding what makes it so attractive and compete with it on that front. Sure, there will be losses, but if you play your cards right, your turnover will be much less than theirs.

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