Gig Economy Forecast: A Look Towards 2023 and Beyond

To properly forecast the gig economy, we need to first look at the current state of the U.S. economy. In a word, it’s volatile.

Inflation levels are at some of the highest rates we’ve seen in four decades. After raising interest rates by three-quarters of a point for the third time this year in September, the Federal Reserve boosted the overall borrowing target range to its highest level since 2008. Some experts predict at least one more rate hike before year’s end, and others warn that the economy will “crumble” if the Fed doesn’t stop raising rates. One analysis forecasts that the cost of certain goods and services won’t drop even under rising rates.

For all the market’s volatility, we know this: Business borrowing costs are tied to the Fed rate, which means companies should be expected to remain cautious about overextending themselves and likely will target cutting costs over growth in the near future. Rounds of layoffs have come on the heels of the post-pandemic hiring spree, and more are likely to be on the way.

It’s impossible to know how any given business will react to these developments, but given what we know about how companies have handled lean or unpredictable economic times in the recent past, we can reasonably forecast the gig economy ahead of the coming year.

Why Contract Labor Now?

The pace of hiring is slowing. Rising inflation and borrowing costs have squeezed many organizations in the short term – but business doesn’t simply stop when the economy turns crummy. Companies with sufficient runway understand that this moment may be an opportunity to pull ahead of struggling competitors. Others just hoping to hang on may find that they cut payroll too deeply. But taking on new staff would be a costly, and potentially risky, commitment.

Instead, expect many of them to turn to contract workers. With contingent labor already making up 30 percent of large organizations’ workforce, it’s likely that we’ll see that figure continue to grow as businesses seek more of the flexibility independent contractors offer.

Strength in Contract Workers

Not only are more workers than ever recognizing the benefits of contract work, but recent layoffs are also prompting many more to consider it for the first time. During a period when organizations are seeking ways to carry out business as usual without being forced to commit to W-2 employees, the contingent labor talent pool may be rising to an all-time high. That should make every company – even those attempting to streamline – stand up and take notice.

At Google, for instance, CEO Sundar Pichai has said he wants to make the company 20 percent more efficient – including potentially shedding labor after the tech giant overexpanded its headcount and became “slower.” Although Pichai spoke of downsizing labor, companies like Google still need to balance agility with sheer power – a workforce capable of handling big initiatives.

As SAP notes, “Organizations that face a shortage of local talent may end up outsourcing jobs internationally or contracting parts of their processes to a third party. If they lack in-house skills, they might also hire contract workers or turn to managed services to supplement their workforce. Organizations are also turning to contingent labor to right-size the number of employees on the payroll and give them the ability to flex. Using contingent workers or SOW-based contracts offers businesses the flexibility to act nimbly when business requirements change.”

And those requirements will change. Inflation is up and the economy is down, but they won’t remain that way indefinitely. Organizations that have properly prepared a strategic workforce plan – one that includes a significant helping of contingent labor – will be best positioned to take advantage when business opportunities eventually (and inevitably) arise.

For more insight into the evolving gig economy, check out PeopleCaddie’s blog.

sgruenGig Economy Forecast: A Look Towards 2023 and Beyond

5 Tips for Managing Your Contract Workforce

The nature and needs of a contract workforce often vary widely depending on the industry, or even within a particular sector. There are almost countless segments of independent contractors within the universe of contingent labor, and understanding their individual motivations and their relationship to your business are keys to getting the most out of their value. And that, in turn, will yield tips for managing your contract workforce. 

For example, an hourly worker stocking shelves at Kroger one shift a week likely has different expectations from that job than a hard-to-find IT specialist has from their position. Similarly, a company is likely to invest more time and resources in supporting and cultivating the latter worker over the former, particularly if the plan is to employ that IT specialist for 2-3 years on a contract basis and eventually try to convince them to take on a permanent role along the way.

Contractors make up an increasing percentage of the overall workforce (our PeopleCaddie research shows roughly 30 percent), which may be the highest recommendation of their worth to a company. But a smart and successful contingent labor strategy is just a start. Here are five tips for managing your contract workforce:

Tips for Managing your Contract Workforce

A Clear Onboarding Process

You already have an onboarding process in place for new staff employees. Building a separate onboarding plan for contractors from scratch is probably a waste of valuable infrastructure and can lead to unintended divisions between independent contractors and full-time staff.

Instead, use your existing staff onboarding process as a baseline for contractors and modulate from there. Who do contractors report to within each department? What is the process for filling contractor invoices at the end of the week? Are contingent laborers needed for only a certain number of hours per shift or week, bar none, or is the expectation that they may be asked to work additional hours depending on project demands? Answering these questions upfront can be critical to employee satisfaction and retention.

Set Clear Expectations

Direct and transparent communication should extend beyond onboarding and into day-to-day contractor engagements. Your initial efforts are important to establish trust and set boundaries, but setting clear expectations for contractors isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it task. It’s a process that requires management and leadership to continually consider and reevaluate workflows, operational needs and what is and isn’t landing for contingent laborers.

For contractors joining a team or department, it’s worth the effort to set up a time to meet their new teammates and outline everyone’s roles. It’s more difficult to adjust expectations than to set them a first time, so any changes may require additional explanation and reinforcement to be most effective. Which leads to …


There’s no magic spell to cast for contractors. Workers of all stripes prefer consistency and across-the-board expectations. The more often the goalposts are moved – or the rules are applied differently depending on the player – the more likely you wind up with a team plagued with bad chemistry.

Whenever you can expose all workers to the same (or very similar) onboarding process and whichever mechanisms your company uses to cultivate culture, all workers – including contractors – are more likely to feel part of the team and be motivated to work toward your business goals. To the best of your ability, make sure no one feels left out or singled out.

Retention Strategy

Much like your onboarding process, don’t try to reinvent the wheel here. Working from your traditional retention strategy, using dedicated resources, expand the plan to include contract workers. Apply the same competencies to an additional audience and, where necessary, adjust language or adapt to suit workers’ contingent labor status. Again, create consistent (or at least fair) expectations for all workers, and then clearly explain why on the occasions when they diverge for contractors.

Creating Opportunities

Some contractors are content punching the clock and keeping it moving, but many want more. That may include anything from a full-time position to company perks to building certain relationships or earning training opportunities that can launch forward a career.

No matter what you offer your contract laborers, and no matter how you handle your onboarding, retention and other strategies as they relate to contingent labor, understand your intention. If the idea is to keep your contractors, convert the best of them to full-time employees and maintain a vibrant workforce, take care to ensure everyone feels they’re a valued part of the team.

PeopleCaddie can help you manage your contractor workforce, facilitating everything from sourcing and hiring to onboarding and administration. Find out more about our platform here.

For more tips on managing your contract workforce, visit the PeopleCaddie blog.

sgruen5 Tips for Managing Your Contract Workforce

How to Position Yourself for Contract Work

You’ve no doubt heard the story: Someone who has always wanted to start their own business built around a personal passion, but who never had the courage to do it, is finally pushed forward by a layoff. Before you know it, the business takes off, the new entrepreneur enjoys the sort of success and fulfillment they’ve always sought, and a professional misfortune ultimately proves to be a blessing in disguise. Believe it or not, a version of this story happens every day. Anytime a worker decides to become an independent contractor, they’re essentially going into business for themselves – even if the goal has nothing to do with opening a donut shop or striking out as a trailhead guide. And there are ideal steps to take to best position yourself for contract work.

But there’s no need to wait for a bad breakup with your current employer to start laying the foundation for a new path in independent contracting, and it hardly requires a trapeze artist’s leap of faith. Here are a few ways to best position yourself for contract work:

How to Find Contract Jobs

Broaden Your Skill Set

That old saw about becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none? Ignore it. If you’re considering independent contracting, chances are you’re looking to do something different – in which case you’ll likely need to add new skills. Developing new competencies, adapting to emerging technologies and generally remaining open to experiences outside your immediate area of expertise are golden opportunities in the contracting world.

At PeopleCaddie, many of our banking independent contractors are former public accountants who didn’t want to make a career of PA work. So while they were still working as full-time public accountants, we were able to help connect them with banking contract gigs, which served as an entry point into that work. By loading up your toolbox – or even deciding to hone your mastery of a new tool – you become a more attractive job candidate to a wider group of potential employers. In contracting, creating that kind of strategic leverage is the name of the game.

Sharpen Your Soft Skills

One of the advantages of easing into contract work is having the opportunity to start small on the admin side. Most of us find no joy in duties like hours tracking, time management and invoicing, but they are critical skills for independent contractors. You are your businesses’ CEO, manager and HR department. Gaining some practice in these areas on a smaller scale, and even noodling around with apps and programs that best fit your industry and business model, can help you hit the ground running when you decide the time is right to take on full-time contract work.

Embrace Industry’s Digital Transformation

Digitization is changing the way every industry does business – and some more than others. In the accounting sector, for instance, SaaS and other technologies are taking much of the bookkeeping out of the hands of CPAs, changing the very nature of their roles.

One McKinsey survey found that executives are three times as likely to claim that at least 80 percent of their consumer interactions are digital, compared to the pre-pandemic era. In any case, it’s clear that today’s workers must take part in the industry’s greater digital transformation or risk being left behind. And because contractors lack the advantage of an employer’s training infrastructure, it’s up to them to stay on the cutting edge of digitization in order to be prepared to jump on the gigs that are best suited to their other skills.

PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud can help jumpstart your career as an independent contractor. Check out the jobs available on our talent cloud.

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Opportunities for Contract Labor as Tech Layoffs Persist

The business winds have shifted dramatically in recent months in the technology sector, as a climate of staffing challenges has changed to one of skyrocketing inflation, fundraising difficulties, and, ultimately, tech layoffs that have left both employees and employers in a bind. A raft of high-profile tech companies (as well as startups and plenty of businesses in between) have been forced to shed payroll of late, and everyone has felt the fallout: workers left jobless, organizations striving to hold on, and even remaining employees whose jobs have become more difficult with the departure of their colleagues. Still, some who had the door closed behind them amid the tech layoffs have found others open. Even during these lean times in the tech sector, there are opportunities for contingent labor.

Here’s how both employees and employers can take advantage:

Tech Layoffs and Contract Labor

How Employees Can Benefit

Let’s say you’re a programmer whose big tech company has had to make some tough recent decisions – including letting you go. Depending on your career arc, your expenditures and the sacrifices you’re willing to make until landing your next role, you may not have ample savings to carry you through that permanent job search. In this case, gig work may be the perfect solution.

Not only are more companies seeking the flexibility of contingent labor, especially during such volatile economic times, but contract work often is the swiftest path back into the workforce. Embracing the gig economy opens the pool of job opportunities for prospects and may also be the best route to a quick cash influx.

And who says gig work has to be a temporary bridge back to full-time employment? Or just a one-time cash grab? The biggest and brightest tech companies employ contractors, making contingent labor a potential entry point for acquiring skills or experiences that may not have been available through traditional staffing opportunities. By opening your search to contract work, you may be able to leverage a turbulent job market to improve your career profile and long-term earning power.

How Employers Can Benefit

The current economic outlook is uncertain at best. We simply don’t know what the next few months, and perhaps years, will hold for business. Companies have a lot of tough choices to make, and not enough clarity to inform those decisions: Downsize? Maintain? Prioritize growth to grab market share while competitors attempt to hold tight and weather the storm?

Weigh those factors and solidify your strategic priorities. Recruiters are often the first to be let go as part of a layoff, so be sure to build a plan understood by all – one that can be executed with your remaining workforce. Connect with your network early and stay in touch with valued contractors. Consider engaging a third-party talent marketplace such as PeopleCaddie, which can handle all your contract employee needs through their leading-edge talent cloud and white-glove service.

What organizations should value most at this moment is flexibility, and that’s precisely what contract labor has to offer. Whether you’ve already made cuts or are looking for opportunities to ramp up production right now, contractors can provide short or long-term solutions that answer acute or ongoing challenges. Whether you’re looking for a one-time software upgrade that requires a project-based IT specialist or a new coder who can fill a role on your team for the next two years, contractors offer low-commitment, high-flexibility labor – a talent faucet that can be easily turned off or on based on a company’s needs at any time.

Interested in learning more about PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud? Learn about our services.

sgruenOpportunities for Contract Labor as Tech Layoffs Persist

Contractor Burnout: Combatting the Problem

Many American workers were feeling over-leveraged or unhappy at work even before Covid disrupted lives and livelihoods across the country. The good news is that the percentage of U.S. employees who report being burned out by work is down from its peak at the height of the pandemic. The bad news: Burnout remains a significant issue in the workplace. And there is another wrinkle to be considered: What about contractor burnout?

In fact, almost half of American workers (49 percent) say they are burned out from their jobs, according to an August survey from Eagle Hill Consulting. Primary complaints among the labor force include heavy workloads and the ongoing worker shortage. Surveyed employees cited a four-day work week and more schedule flexibility in general as ways for companies to consider reducing burnout.

Members of the contingent workforce face many of the same stressors as any other employee, yet they may also reasonably experience feelings based on the nature of their contract relationship, such isolation from the larger group (whether because they’re working from home or separated from full-time staff) or a lack of job security. With mental health challenges for the general population mounting, and with more company leaders coming to grips with the importance of mental wellness among their employees, now is an ideal moment for contractors and those who employ them to team up to bring about a cooling effect on burnout at work.

What Can Contractors Do to Reduce Burnout?

First and foremost, every employee should try to read the signs of precisely what they’re feeling when work seems to be getting the better of them. Is it burnout or depression?

The former may leave the employee feeling too tired to enjoy their passions, whereas the latter can mean they no longer derive any joy from those passions. One is tied to the work itself, while the other is a medical condition that may be best treated with professional help. If you’re experiencing a crisis, SAMHSA’s 988 Lifeline Network and National Helpline offer 24/7 support. For others concerned they may be suffering from depression, consider the company resources available to you, such as access to a licensed therapist.

As for burnout, Dr. Rebecca Brendel, president of the American Psychiatric Association, tells the New York Times that a key differentiator is that the phenomenon improves when the employee steps away from work. A recent study, for example, found that 10-minute microbreaks can help. But there’s one simple way a contractor can simplify the traditional freelance experience and start reducing work-induced stress: sign up with PeopleCaddie.

Because PeopleCaddie serves as the employer of record for most of its contractors, who then operate on a W-2 basis, those workers can access benefits that include health insurance and paid time off. PeopleCaddie can even work with a contractor to build mental health breaks between assignments – often before the existing project ends, eliminating one of the main anxieties most contractors face (lining up their next gig). The best way to address mental health is with a proactive approach. PeopleCaddie can help reduce contractor burnout. 

What Can Companies Do to Reduce Contractor Burnout?

As more companies are discovering the value of contingent labor, they are building out their workforces with more independent contractors than ever, a development that by itself can help mitigate the labor shortage and ease burnout on currently overburdened workers.

Additionally, however, companies would do well to foster inclusive cultures that signal to independent contractors just how much they are valued. When contingent laborers receive regular face-time from managers or even, say, an invitation to the company holiday party, they are more likely to feel part of a team and draw energy and motivation from that group.

The more an organization can enable the lifestyle a contractor wants to live, the more likely it is to lay the groundwork for a productive employee relationship. And PeopleCaddie can help. Some of the most successful independent contractors connect with employers through the PeopleCaddie network to advocate not only for their careers but for their lives outside of work – whether that means working remotely, traveling or taking time off to recharge. Burnout can be avoided if employers and employees communicate and work together to ensure each is receiving what it needs from the other.

Interested in learning more about the PeopleCaddie talent cloud? Click here to find out how it works.

sgruenContractor Burnout: Combatting the Problem

‘Quiet Quitting’: Navigating the Issue

Daily working life in the United States has changed dramatically over the last several years. The massive employment upheaval caused by the pandemic was followed by a gradual return to business – but not always into the office itself. Zoom calls, hybrid work, and new protocols required a learning curve, and even now, as the unemployment rate hovers at near-historic lows, inflation may be leaving many workers trapped – unhappy in their position but unwilling to forgo a secure situation.

What is Quiet Quitting?

It’s impossible to know the precise psychology of the moment, particularly across a group of more than 160 million people. But a certain ennui has definitively crept into the American workforce, according to data collected in a new survey: Gallup recently found that 50 percent of the U.S. workforce – and perhaps more – is currently engaged in the practice of “quiet quitting.”

In other words, today in America every other employed person is doing just enough to get by at work. Gallup calls the phenomenon a problem because “most jobs today require some level of extra effort to collaborate with coworkers and meet customer needs.” But if you run a business or hire talent for a living, you don’t need an explanation about why the trend is troubling. You need to know how to turn it around.

Consider Contractors to Avoid Overworking Your Employees

America’s employees haven’t simply decided they’re tired of work. Many of them, just like their employers, are wrangling with the effects of the ongoing labor shortage. Workers at short-staffed companies may take on a greater load – or have it heaped onto their shoulders – which can lead to frustration and burnout. And the last thing an employer struggling to hire needs is to chase off the employees already under their roof.

Companies hoping to avoid exactly that will want to engage their workforce, ensuring that employees don’t feel like just a number. Transparent conversations, contextual evaluations, clear growth opportunities and prompt performance reviews can help maintain employee morale and set expectations on both sides. Bridging the employment gap with independent contractors can also help avoid overtaxing your staff while providing the flexibility to scale up or down with the ebb and flow of business. If you’re looking to hire high-quality talent, PeopleCaddie is the talent cloud for the gig economy and ready to partner to help you reach your business goals.

Forget Quiet Quitting – Find a (Better) Contractor Gig

What if you’re an employee at a company that just can’t seem to find its way, or a business that lacks the necessary leadership at the mid levels? (Quiet quitting isn’t just a front-line worker issue: Gallup notes that only one in three managers are engaged at work.) Rather than switching to auto-pilot yourself, consider a move to contracting.

Contractors have the flexibility to move around, test out employers, seek the best compensation or most meaningful work, and even take time off or travel in between gigs. Often, contracting even allows for the sort of remote work that allows for travel during a project assignment.

PeopleCaddie facilitates in connecting contractors with a teeming network of companies, a variety of roles and benefits (including insurance and paid time off) you won’t often find as a go-it-alone freelancer. Working with PeopleCaddie partner companies bolsters your contractor profile within the network, and transparent ratings and reviews allow new employers – and perhaps former ones – to easily identify you as a candidate and reach out to set up your next gig.

Whether you’re an employer seeking to build out its contractor workforce or an employee looking to see what type of contracting gigs are out there, you can find out more at

sgruen‘Quiet Quitting’: Navigating the Issue

The Perils of Flex-Washing to Attract Talent

Let’s face it: For companies currently scouring for new talent in this depleted job market, it’s rough out there. There’s a reason so many organizations are extending budgets and rethinking company policy to offer the best candidates higher salaries, perkier benefits, and more flexibility in their schedules and work environments. Attracting top talent is hard. But even if the struggle is real, some of those offerings may not be. It’s called flex-washing – the false advertising or misleading characterization of a company’s flexible work policies – and it’s more than just a harmless exaggeration in the battle to win coveted talent.

How to Identify Flex-Washing

As part of that ongoing fight, some hiring managers have been overzealous in their framing of “flex work.” A salary offer is a fixed, quantifiable number, and health insurance benefits, 401k, and paid time off are objectively measured. But just try pinning down the concept of “flexibility” in a job description. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of wiggle room there.

Keep in mind, remote work or hybrid work may appeal to a potential employee, but neither should be confused with flexible work. Even remote and hybrid models prescribe (or at least clearly define) the terms of a schedule or work environment, whereas the definition of flexible work suggests a more dynamic agreement. But it’s that very fluidity that can allow a hiring manager to take certain liberties in over-selling a position’s true flexibility.

Employees should be prepared to pepper a hiring professional with pointed questions about flex work. What are a company’s specific expectations for days and hours worked? In the office or remotely? Unlimited vacation sounds great, but how does it affect workflows? Are all these terms subject to change? Do they differ by team or manager? The more specific answers you nail down, the less likely you’ll feel later that you were sold a bill of goods.

Why Flex-Washing Hurts Your Organization and Brand

Just as any business with long-term aspirations wants to avoid over-promising and risking the dissatisfaction of its consumers, hiring organizations should be mindful of painting a too-rosy picture for job candidates for similar reasons.

Judging by the reaction to line-in-the-sand edicts from leadership at organizations such as Goldman Sachs – where only about half of the company’s 10,000 employees showed up at headquarters after being ordered back into the office last February – good employees with solid prospects wouldn’t likely take well to bait-and-switch flex-washing tactics.

Business must change with the times, and organizations reserve the right to update their policies – particularly when adjustments must be made based on extenuating circumstances. (See: Covid.) But a company that promises flexibility and isn’t prepared to follow through runs the risk of productivity issues, credibility loss with workers, and even employee churn. Moreover, damage to an organization’s reputation could make future hiring efforts even dicier.

How to Avoid Flex-Washing

Companies and hiring professionals that set out to intentionally mislead job candidates are probably rare. More likely, in a tight labor market, in which top talent is at an absolute premium, organizations are eager to put their best foot forward whenever they get a crack at a strong candidate. But as we’ve outlined above, there can be significant consequences from going too far to sell a prospect on a job.

To keep from crossing the line into flex-washing, start with a clear vision of where the company ultimately wants to go and be transparent about communicating it to your employees. If you’re reacting to changing pandemic conditions, let your workers know the challenges, disclose that the company may have to dynamically adjust and admit that no policy can account for every unknown circumstance. Review policies quarterly, stay agile in your decision making and keep staff in the loop.

You won’t seal the deal with every hot prospect, and you can’t please every employee with your policy. But, by and large, employees will respect and remain more loyal to an honest company, and your purposeful transparency will likely make them feel less put upon if and when changes need to be made.

Interested in learning more about how to manage your workforce? Check out PeopleCaddie’s blog.

sgruenThe Perils of Flex-Washing to Attract Talent

What to Consider When Switching to a Contract Job Right Now

Employment numbers are at stratospheric highs and gas prices are plummeting, yet the U.S. economy appears to be on some of its shakiest ground since the pandemic began. It’s hard to know what to make of these topsy-turvy times, and impossible to predict the future. But a recent proclamation from the Federal Reserve suggests that, in an effort to spare Americans “far greater pain,” there may be no getting around all of us feeling a sting of some sort. And this volatile economy impacts contractors, in particular. If you are wondering if you should start contract work right now, we have a few things to keep in mind. 

As expected inflation hikes continue and already costly goods and materials become more expensive, the trickle-down effect figures to force staffing cutbacks across industries. In the end, the Fed’s maneuverings may bring the economy back into balance, but there will be fallout for many workers in the meantime. Is a staff position a better choice than an independent contractor role? How should workers navigate the months to come? Start answering those and other pressing questions by first tackling these considerations:

Should You Start Contract Work? What to Keep in Mind

Be prepared.

You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to make short-term preparations that account for the unexpected. And although we can’t know when the economy will stabilize again, we can be pretty confident it won’t happen tomorrow. Batten down the hatches for the gathering storm by thinking hard about what you want out of the next few years, laying out an appropriate near-term career plan and then building in a boatload of contingencies based on whichever way the winds may turn.

An advantage you can count on: Even in lean times, companies need talent. That painpoint can help blunt the ways a volatile economy impacts contractors. They may downsize and overcorrect, or they may be overly cautious in staffing up when it’s truly needed. Contractors often bridge the gap, which is an opportunity for those thinking ahead. If you’re a freelancer who isn’t already part of a talent cloud – or even if you’re a full-timer with anything less than rock-solid job security – consider signing up with PeopleCaddie to be discovered by thousands of employers looking for the skills you have to offer.

You are a business of one.

Even as a PeopleCaddie contractor working for one of our partner clients, you’d do well to think of yourself as your own business. You are a consultant or a vendor offering your services, so you should evaluate all the things other businesses have to consider: marketing, outreach, profit margins.

When was the last time you updated your resume or portfolio? You can add them both to the PeopleCaddie platform and allow our partner clients to find you via our search algorithm. Seek out jobs by category, location and more. Set your rates and bid only on the jobs that meet your salary requirements. In a less favorable job economy, perhaps you adjust those rates – or, better yet, find skill-building or educational opportunities that drive the value of your services into your desired salary range.

Risk vs. reward.

Is now the time to make the leap from staff to contract worker? Or, if you’re already a contractor, should you be looking for a full-time position before the other shoe drops? You should always be weighing these considerations, mostly based on your current needs and preferences – schedule flexibility, autonomy, lifestyle considerations (child care, health condition, etc.).

But consider this: A permanent job isn’t a suit of armor that protects against staff restructuring, and nor does contract work necessarily put a target on your back when cuts are being made. The “danger” of independent contracting during dicey economic moments such as these is relative – the perceived risk has always been greater than the actual risk. The rewards, meanwhile, can range from financial to personal, while expanding the pool of hiring opportunities for a job seeker.

Looking to shift from full-time to contract work? Check out PeopleCaddie’s blog for advice and information on the contingent labor space.

sgruenWhat to Consider When Switching to a Contract Job Right Now

Long COVID and the Workforce: How It Impacts Independent Contractors

Sick of hearing about the pandemic? You aren’t alone. But imagine instead, more than a year after COVID peaked in the United States, still being sick because of the pandemic. Long COVID isn’t a myth or a triviality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the condition, which affects people who have previously been infected with the COVID virus, can include symptoms such as severe fatigue, respiratory issues, brain fog, depression and anxiety, and may linger for months or years. And beyond the human toll, research suggests Long COVID and the workforce is costing business, too — particularly the independent contractor market.

A recent Brookings Institute report found that about 16 million working-age (18-65) Americans currently have Long COVID, and among them as many as 4 million are out of work because of the condition. That’s an enormous drag on the job economy – roughly the equivalent of a third of the nation’s current labor shortage. No specifics were offered as part of the report, but undoubtedly a significant number of those absences represent the independent contractor market. With no clear end to the effects of Long COVID in sight, what other implications might the condition have for the contractor market?

More Options and Flexibility

For those coping with the physical effects of Long COVID, work may be the furthest thing from their minds. But for those whose symptoms are somewhat milder, or for those who feel they have no choice but to grind through them in order to pay the bills, there may be some comfort in knowing that work doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair.

Employers struggling to overcome the labor shortage, forced to think out of the box, are increasingly looking to nontraditional roles and employees to bridge the gap. Flex work, remote roles, part-time hours, work-as-needed – any of these opportunities may be available to a contractor. And when it isn’t specifically cited in a job listing, just ask. You might be surprised by what you hear back from an employer.

Today, there are more opportunities than ever to work remotely, part-time, and on shorter contracts – all of which could make the difference between a Long COVID sufferer earning enough to get by or earning nothing at all. Thousands of these jobs are listed on the PeopleCaddie platform, allowing contractors in our network the flexibility to avoid a commute, work comfortably in their own homes, and select positions and projects that suit their individual situations best.

Health Benefits When They’re Needed Most

In addition to opening doors financially, PeopleCaddie can help offer peace of mind – especially to those still in need of ongoing medical care. Many retirees have supplemental health insurance plans, but that still leaves a vast majority of those estimated 4 million out-of-work Long COVID sufferers without coverage – at a time when they likely need access to medical care more than ever.

Every PeopleCaddie contractor who signs on to the platform as a W2 employee has the opportunity to join our health insurance plan. It’s a perk that all our contractors find valuable, whether they are pushing through a chronic illness, have a family, or are just looking out for their well-being. For single parents, individuals caring for an elderly family member, Long COVID sufferers and any others facing special circumstances, PeopleCaddie provides more flexibility to earn and ensure your health.

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Gig Economy Predictions

Gig economy predictions say it is on pace to meet or exceed many of the numbers projected for it in 2018, and everyone, from boomers to Generation Z, is getting in on the action. The gig economy is made up of freelancers and contractors who do everything from driving for Uber or Lyft to managing large-scale software rollouts. For many gig workers – approximately 44 percent, according to late-payment directory service brodmin – contracting is their primary source of income. 

During Covid, many workers were homebound and caring for children and family. Some pivoted to contract work due to the flexible schedule. As remote and hybrid work continued for some post-Covid, this meant they needed to continue seeking out contract and freelance work. People who had finally gotten a taste of a satisfactory work-life balance weren’t ready to let it go. According to the 2021 MBO Partners State of Independence study, the number of independent workers grew an unprecedented 34 percent year over year, increasing from 38.2 million in 2020 to 51.1 million in 2021. 

The additional contract workers have been key for businesses that have had trouble filling traditional full-time positions post-”Great Resignation.” Contractors are able to work for a specified time, fill holes in employment gaps and be plugged in and out as necessary to support a company’s projects and mission. The Biden Administration’s jobs numbers indicate that unemployment has continued to edge down, and now sits at 3.5 percent. With the country having added 528,000 new jobs in July, contractors will become even more valuable to organizations struggling to hire from an otherwise shallow labor pool.

Generation Z and Gig Economy Predictions

Currently Generation Z makes up 21 percent of the gig workforce, and with more “Zoomers” set to enter the workforce in the coming years, it’s expected that their percentage of the overall gig economy will increase to meet or exceed the 25-34 age group, which currently makes up 48 percent of the gig economy.

Members of the younger workforce have been shown to deeply value doing work they consider to be meaningful, and many will be eager to take contract positions (perhaps even short-term or low-hours side gigs) in fields about which they are passionate. Work-life balance, remote work and the flexibility of gig work will also continue to draw Zoomers into contracting. With a talent cloud such as PeopleCaddie, these workers will be able to move through assignments and begin building a body of work from the outset of their careers.

Gig Economy by the Numbers

A key statistic in the measurement of gig work regularly shows a significant uptick each year since 2018, according to research by brodmin and data provided by Mastercard. By 2023, the gig economy is set to top $455 billion, an average of 17.4 percent growth year over year since 2018. The number of gig workers is expected to grow from 57 to 86 million by 2027.

The gig economy will only continue to grow, providing more opportunity for workers willing to embrace independent contracting. Workers want the flexibility freelancing has to offer, and employers need the help. To connect with quality, vetted contractors with  complete employment histories, skills assessments and ratings from prior contracts, consider joining the PeopleCaddie network today.

Looking for more insight on the Gig Economy? Check out PeopleCaddie’s blog.

sgruenGig Economy Predictions