The secret difference between a gig worker and a temp worker

Gig workers and the gig economy has been a hot topic in recent months, with on-demand services like Instacart hiring 300,000 more workers to fill growth driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you're like many logistics, distribution, or fulfillment businesses, you likely use temp workers to support spikes in demand. You’re not alone -- an Economist Intelligence Unit survey showed that logistics and delivery (50%), manufacturing operations, and production roles (45%) use temporary labor most frequently. 

If you're in that group, you may be wondering what's so new about gig workers? How is it different from what you already use? Here we compare gig workers and temp workers, so you have a clear understanding of what’s what.

Same: a temp worker and a gig worker are both independent contractors

On paper, a temp worker is the same as a gig worker. For both,

  • You hire them only for defined, short-term periods
  • You typically use an intermediary to find and schedule these workers
  • You can offer them full-time employment

At first glance, this would mean that staffing agencies and gig labor platforms would send you the same people. But when you consider the type of person who chooses to work through a gig platform and why, you'll find that you access a different workforce who wouldn't necessarily consider using a temp agency.

Same: both are interested in full-time work

While some may think gig workers only want to work here and there, many are seeking full-time, ongoing work. The desire to "try before you buy" goes both ways. By working on a temp basis, they're testing if the business is a good fit for them. At Instawork, we make it super easy for businesses and workers choose who they want to work with. If the business likes a worker, it only has to rate the worker highly for Instawork to give that worker preference in future shifts. That way those who enjoy working with each other can continue doing so.

Different: gig workers are motivated to do good work, every time

While people unsurprisingly work on gig platforms to earn more income, many opt to use them instead of traditional staffing agencies because it provides merit-based rewards and convenience.

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Merit-based rewards: On most gig platforms, workers build their professional reputation by getting rated and reviewed after each shift. Traditional staffing agencies, job boards, and LinkedIn profiles can't provide that level of verified transparency into a person's experience and performance. Workers tell us how they value a merit-based rewards system that reflect their hard work. And at Instawork, we continually motivate those on our platform with different rewards and recognition programs, so they keep up the great work.

"After my first shift, many places leave me a great review and ask for me to work for them again. It's nice that I'm not the one knocking on the door of employment, but the other way around!" - Pricilla, Instawork Professional in New York City

Convenience: Most gig platforms have a mobile app that makes it quick and easy for workers to schedule shifts and get paid. With real-time notifications and detail provided upfront, more people are willing to pick up shifts right away. At Instawork, the technology supports the worker beyond scheduling shifts, helping them show up on time and do their best work.

Flexibility: Work includes a range of commitment and type of work, including one-off, recurring, or temp-to-perm shifts. Workers can find work that fits their schedule, working around other responsibilities. One recent study showed that those who supplement their primary income with gig work grew 40% in three years. Paradoxically, people now believe having multiple streams of income makes them more financially stable than relying only on one source of income.

Different: Gig workers tend to be younger

The number of people who work in the gig economy has been steadily increasing over the last decade, with 57M people reporting to freelance in 2019. And while freelancing is gaining traction with people across all demographic dimensions, multiple studies show that it's particularly popular with the younger generation. In 2019, 53% of Gen Z workers earned income freelancing.

Other research, such as these published by the Aspen Institute, shows that relative to different age groups, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to do gig work. 

Who are temp workers

Why does this matter? Considering the aging workforce in manufacturing and warehousing, having access to a younger talent pool can both fill immediate needs and feed your recruiting pipeline with talent who can grow with your company.

How warehouses can benefit from using gig workers

As you head into the busy season, having reliable sources of workers is critical to staying agile. If you use multiple staffing agencies because you've learned you can't trust just one, are you confident they can deliver when you need them most? Get ahead of it and find a different pipeline of talent.

What must you do to start using gig workers?

Here at Instawork, we've partnered closely with our clients to help them take advantage of a more flexible workforce. Solutions include programs such as preparing workers before their shift and building a roster of pre-screened workers just for your business. You can learn more about how to manage training with a flexible workforce here. These solutions ensure you get the best of both worlds -- trusted reliability and flexibility.

Are you interested in learning more about Instawork? Schedule a quick demo below.