HR News

The Rise of Gig Work in 2023

Seamless onboarding processes are a must in a gig work world. 

By Zee Johnson 

Gig work has taken the workforce by storm. According to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, 36% of respondents, or 58 million Americans, are independent contractors, a 9% increase over six years.  

Now that more people are turning to non-traditional work, companies need to polish up on their onboarding and background screening strategies to meet the needs of a new workforce. 

Joy Henry, head of technology and business services at Sterling, says that recent global disruptions have attributed to the rise in gig work and have largely impacted the way candidates view career opportunities. Workers worldwide are rethinking how, where, and when they want to work due to the greater amount of remote work possibilities, the growth of the gig economy and contingent work prospects, and the effects of pandemic-driven disruption,” she says. 

But a recent survey by Sterling found that this freedom hasn’t come without issue. Thirty-three percent of hiring and onboarding professionals said that hiring contingent workers is more complicated than hiring traditional workers and 32% said they’re now competing with other/new types of work. 

Henry says that it’s important to sort through these concerns as contingent labor is just as important for workers as it is for businesses. “Employers benefit from gig labor by having access to a qualified talent pool that allows organizations to embrace flexibility and meet customer demand [and] gig workers gain access to new options and flexibility that may not have been previously available,” she says. 

Sterling’s report detailed some key process adjustments and investments organizations are making, including:  

  • 48% are using technology to enhance or simplify the candidate experience; 
  • 41% are integrating background screening and identity verification into their hiring workflows to create a more seamless experience; and 
  • 40% are using technology to further automate their process. 

Henry adds that another key reason for revisiting and investing in onboarding is to keep as many candidates engaged throughout the process as possible. Since the survey found that 85% of gig work candidates either considered dropping out or did drop out of their most recent hiring experience, she advises making the process uncomplicated or risk losing qualified talent. “An easy-to-use and responsive hiring process is important to prevent candidate drop-off. Candidates considering quitting the onboarding process typically think it is too difficult,” she says. “As a result, the background check process must be a seamless element of the hiring process to help avoid losing quality workers in the race for talent. 

She also says that utilizing mobile-friendly, straightforward, and accessible tools can help create a strong candidate experience, too. 

Gig work is the future, and organizations that recognize this and create stellar onboarding processes will establish themselves as industry leaders. “It’s my belief that gig is driving the future of what background screening might look like in five to 10 years from now,” Henry says. “[And] the efficiencies that are driven inside of the gig market are actually helping to develop what the future of background screening will look like for all companies.” 

Increasing Female Executives

Women make great leaders, but inequity is making it harder for them to progress. Here’s how organizations can act. 

By Zee Johnson 

New research shows that the needle hasn’t moved that much when it comes to female representation in leadership roles. The Women in the Workplace Study found that for every 100 men who are promoted from an entry-level position to management, only 87 women are promoted. And for women of color, that number drops to 82.  

Elizabeth Weingarten, head of behavioral science insights at Torchsays recent evidence suggests that how people view women as leaders may be worsening, attributing these thoughts to unconscious bias. 

A common misconception that is often held subconsciously is that underrepresented women don’t have what it takes to be leaders. That’s because many people still have biased ideas of who looks and sounds like a leader (generally, our image of a leader tends to be a white, cisgender male),” she says. 

The study also revealed that 80% of respondents felt that managers should be doing more to support their female employees. Yet less than 50% of manager training gives leaders the tools to tackle things like morale and fair promotional practices.  

For women to be seriously considered for high-level roles, Weingarten says that they must first be properly advised. “Leadership is not an innate ability, but a set of skills that anyone can learn with the guidance of trusted advisors, coaches or mentors. There is no one way to lead or be a leader. 

She also encourages organizations to revisit their policies and procedures and lists some ways for leaders to ensure they account for underrepresented women. 

  • Decision-makers should be representative. If there is decision being made about a policy or practice that impacts employees, make sure that the people involved in making that decision include folks from underrepresented communities, even if they don’t have formal leadership titles.  
  • Consider how decisions will impact the underrepresented. If an organization has a framework it uses to make decisions—perhaps a set of questions to evaluate risk assessment or opportunity—a question about how this policy or procedure might impact underrepresented women differently should be added. 

All hands must be on deck to initiate change, and since men make up the largest percentage of leaders in the workplace, their efforts are needed, too. “Today, people in power in most workplaces still tend to be predominantly male – making their role in this work essential,” she says. “All people are essential stakeholders in workplace equity work, but the greatest responsibility falls on those with the power and influence to make changes not only to their behavior as individuals, but to the systems, practices and policies that can have an even greater impact on workplace equity. 

Being or becoming equitable is a continual task that Weingarten says will always require some tweaking. “Inclusion is not a binary state – a switch that is turned on or off, something that “is” or “isn’t”, but rather a continuum. Creating an inclusive workplace is a journey that’s never “finished” – there are always ways for policies and practices to improve as we all continuously learn from each other,” she says. 

Any company that engages in dialogue with the people who are impacted by their organization’s practices and policies, particularly underrepresented groups, and ensures there is a measurement system to scope if these policies are performing well, will see more women achieving their career goals.  

A Penny Really Adds Up

By Debbie Bolla

This week, Payscale released its 2023 Gender Pay Gap Report in observance of (almost?) Equal Pay Day (March 14th). This year’s findings report the uncontrolled pay gap—the median measure of compensation for men and women regardless of factors—inched up one cent, with women making 0.83 cents for every dollar men earn. The controlled pay gap—earnings for women and men who do the same job—remains at a one cent gap. A penny doesn’t sound like much until it does: According to the report, over the course of a 40-year career with a 3% annual increase, the average female worker will earn approximately $70,000 less than her male counterpart, strictly based on her gender. For uncontrolled, the gap is even wider over 40 years at a whopping $900,000.

As the gaps lessens slowly over time, HR continues to make pay equity a priority. Payscale’s 2023 Compensation Best Practices Report (CBPR) finds that 63% of organizations have pay equity as a planned or current initiative. But clearly there is work to be done. According to new research from The Josh Bersin Company, 71% of CHROs and the C-suite view pay equity as a key factor in people strategy but only 14% have allocated budget to achieve it.

“Considering that pay equity has been on the agenda for around 50 years, it’s shocking that as many as 95% of companies are not accomplishing the highest level of pay equity maturity. Half of the companies are only addressing pay equity to mitigate legal issues, while 37% view pay equity work as a sporadic process conducted once a year,” said Kathi Enderes, SVP of research and global industry analyst at The Josh Bersin Company. “Now, though, pay equity trailblazers like Patagonia, Microsoft, and Adidas are realizing that performance-related pay is not the ultimate goal. They understand that pay equity is not only about fair and equitable pay and bonuses but also a means of running a company equitably.”

Those organizations that invest in pay equity will reap the rewards. The research finds that the 5% of companies that excel in pay equity have higher profitability, improved customer satisfaction, and success in attracting and retaining top talent. Another consideration: Employee experience. The report shows that out of 84 employee experience strategies, fair and equitable rewards were ranked number five as a driver of positive outcomes.

Hopefully we’ll get that penny (or 17 of them) next year.

Industry Insights

From our Flash Report, Organizations Remain
Unprepared for a Recession

Read the full report here