There was a time, not long ago, that it was an employer’s market. The need for jobs gave employers the ability to sort through an influx of applicants to pick the most desired, In the last few years that influx was already dwindling and with covid has completely dried up. Government assistance was short lived so the question is where did the employees go and when will they return? When the pandemic first reared its ugly head in March of 2020 everyone was hit by the same storm but weathered it inside different boats. Some relied on government assistance or savings, but a good portion found another source of revenue or learned to live with less. The other sources of revenue included the upstart of new businesses and the development of side hustles into main sources of income. Companies like Uber eats, and door dash got many people through the worst part of the pandemic, and this should have been a temporary fix until the workers were able to return to work. When businesses re-opened, they did so in stages, and many found that the employees were not waiting to return. While the shortage seems, new experts say the workforce was already changing due to lower birth rates every year even in heavily populated countries. There are going to be more employees seeking work though as prices drive those who lived on less and the side hustlers back to a more traditional income. The question is how to shift them to logistics which by its necessary structure is far from freelance?
The bubble is bursting on the side- hustle economy. When the government assistance ended the workforce should have returned but many looked to those same apps designed for supplementary income to be their main source of income thus saturating the market. With less revenue to be made in unconventional ways and workers learning that the wear and tear on their vehicles is not worth the compensation many are looking to return to more conventional streams of income and if employers want to be the front runner employer, they need to look at what the less conventional routes had to offer pre-covid.
Flexibility in Schedule
The main thing people enjoy about gig work is even if they have to work more hours for the same type of income, they choose when. Some businesses cannot offer a fluid schedule, but there are many that can. Some warehouses are now staying open on the weekends and offering a day off in the week instead. It would be difficult for most businesses to do an extra full day of the week of operations, so they could start with one day of the week with adjusted hours or you could have the HR department work with employees on time needed for appointments that could be made up on the selected days. The traditional work week does make it hard for people to get to appointments or do errands so if there is any way to provide more flexibility that would help appeal to the new workforce. If businesses are able to expand their daily operating hours, they could allow workers a variety of in times versus everyone coming in at once. Ultimately, it’s a stretch for most HR departments but may be worth the increase in viable candidates.
One thing most side hustles offer is same day pay. Most have a card that you can opt to be paid right away for work done and a lesser percentage than if they wait a few days. For people struggling financially the ability to be paid the same day can be very appealing. This may also stretch the capability of the payroll department but there are a plethora of apps to assist with setting up this payment structure. Even weekly pay may be enough incentive for those returning to the work force from a daily pay mindset.
Independence and Ownership
The truth of the side hustle is you still have some sort of employer and accountability. A worker driving for lyft is still working as an independent contract for lyft. Drivers rate them, the company tracks driving habits and drivers are given a score. The score determines the quantity of work they get. The difference is that there is not a human face to the management which creates an illusion of independence. This will be a hard feature for businesses to replicate but if there is an opportunity to create a feeling of independence at work that would benefit businesses.
Filling in the Gaps
One of the downfalls of gig work is the lack of benefits for the workers. There is no health insurance, dental insurance or 401k for independent contractors. The work is also inconsistent. Drivers can go hours unpaid. Utilizing this information and really highlighting those features to applicants may pull in the longer term minded. The options for employers are to either embrace the gig culture and use apps for temp workers or find a way to woo the workers back. This is going to be an incredible challenge for the logistics industry. However, those businesses that get creative may be ahead of the game as the work forces shifts.