Collaboration in the Gig Economy – SIA GIGE 2021 Key Takeaways

A state of convergence is taking place within the talent acquisition industry as well as the lingering effects of the global pandemic. Organizations must adapt their policies and procedures on how to engage and retain the best, highly skilled and in demand talent globally.


In September 2021, Staffing Industry Analysts held their annual SIA ‘GigE’ Collaboration in the Gig Economy Conference.  It was one of the first industry conferences to assemble in person, with a mix of Fortune 1000, Start up and Technology companies in attendance.  Attendees ranged from contingent workforce managers, procurement professionals to technology advocates.  Over 20 leading Gig Economy Ecosystem suppliers were present, demonstrating and presenting their new and enhanced technologies to service companies utilizing Gig, Independent, Freelance and Corp. to Corp. contractors.


Much of the focus of the conference was the state of convergence taking place within the talent acquisition industry and the lingering effect the global covid pandemic has created. In this new world of work, full time and contingent contractors now desire to work remotely from anywhere in the world. Organizations must adapt their policies and procedures on how to engage and retain the best talent. Highly skilled and in demand talent globally are establishing new foundations and setting the criteria of how, when, where and how much they are willing to work for and showing they are now in control.


$1.3 trillion was spent on gig work in the US during 2020. The lion’s share, $800 billion, was to independent contractors, and $121 billion went to temporary workers employed by staffing firms. Barry Asin, President, Staffing Industry Analysts 

The following are some of the key take-aways from the conference for all who are involved in contingent or on-demand talent engagement.

Gig platforms are disrupting traditional contingent workforce engagement channels

There are platforms of all types emerging globally.  These platforms range from the on-demand consumer services like ride share, delivery, quick and low-cost marketing services to talent pools of highly skilled niche professionals.  All these platforms bring solutions and engagement, available at the swipe of a mobile phone or immediate review of skills, experience and desired pay rates.

Within the highly skilled platforms, AI is playing an increased role in talent acquisition with intelligence and algorithms enabling enterprise users of the platforms to quickly uncover those with the most desirable skills. Talent is being identified in almost every country around the world to fulfill roles. The driving theme to reduce and minimize risk, was for companies to ensure proper classification and compliance of these highly skilled workers prior to engagement.


Governments are paying attention to ‘gig’ and independent talent engagement, to ensure proper compliance, justify worker classification and ensure tax agencies receive proper taxation.

Post onboarding of the highly skilled workers, as well as how and where they are being paid, is a key contributor in the compliance process.  Simply sending a payment or utilizing a transaction payment platform does not provide the enterprise company with the indemnity the risk and taxation managers internally require.  Companies who outsource the compliance, classification and payment process of these workers have taken the proper steps.  Those who have not are open to audit, fines, penalties and possible services exclusions from a company where they are pay remote workers non compliantly.

Some 52 million people in the US did gig work in 2020, or 35% of the workforce. Asin noted SIA’s definition of gig work includes statement-of-work consultants, temporary workers directly employed by companies, independent contractors, talent platform workers and temporary workers from staffing firms.


Leading legacy talent recruitment firms are embracing collaboration with the emerging platforms rather than competing with them. Concerns that the Gig Economy is driving down pay rates to certain to classes of workers, with increase labor competition from abroad, have leveled during the global covid pandemic. Talent is in high demand and workers globally today have access to more data and understanding of pay and bill rate opportunities.


Convergence and collaboration of suppliers needs to happen in order to deliver a seamless enterprise client and worker experience. Suppliers need to build with future state, for this new world of work, where technology is inserted to augment and enhance human interactions in the talent engagement journey. Companies that partner with other best in class solution providers building their “Tech Stack” are more valued by enterprise clients. A robust talent ecosystem will enhance and ensure speed to engagement is a priority, so as not to lose highly sought-after talent.


How do companies manage remote distributed workers with talent will the key holders?

As workers are being identified globally, managing every aspect of their engagement complex and cumbersome. Human resource and hiring managers are usually not familiar with all components of a globally disbursed workforce hiring, legal and local employment considerations. By utilizing a global ecosystem partner to manage the employer of record “EOR” for employed contractors and agent of record “AOR” for independent and corp. to corp. contractors the time burden and more important the risk is managed by the partner allowing the company to focus on the project task at hand. The worker will always be performing work and projects for the benefit of and managed the company representing, the EOR & AOR ecosystem partner handles all human resource, benefit and taxation requirements.


creating “Direct Sourcing”

Communities are emerging that allow access to a more distributed workforce. More companies are willing to use their brand as a competitive advance to attract highly skilled and sought after workers globally. Expansion of internal talent pools and companies will to partner with public talent pools or platforms. 60% of companies are utilizing or exploring direct sourcing measure.  Direct Sourcing via public and private talent pools is now an integral part of a companies contingent workforce acquisition program and technology will only advance these numbers.


Disruptors are emerging in the Gig Economy industry. Tech startups in every aspect of the contingent workforce and Gig Economy have the full support of venture capital firms. These companies are making legacy provides review and digitally transform their business to remain competitive.  Technology will always bring advancement, but in the end should be used to enhance human interactions.


CXC Global for the past 29 years has assisted companies with contractor workforce management that enables proper classification and risk mitigation. The Gig Economy is upon us and as companies engage global freelance talent directly or via online platforms, ensuring proper set up and timely compliant engagements of this new category of workers will be the key components to risk avoidance and program success.