Skip to content
Back to eduMe Blog

How to Attract Talent in the Gig Economy

Amy Watts
Amy Watts

With 7.25 million people forecast to work in the gig economy by 2022, engaging prospective freelancers is just as important as attracting full time employees.

Creating a contingent workforce of skilled, agile gig workers is vital for on-demand companies in the post-Covid era. The challenge, however, is knowing how to find them.

While the fundamentals of hiring remain the same across industries, the gig economy is a highly specific workforce to target and attract. Seekers of flexibility and autonomy, freelancers need to be assured that companies respect and value the work that they do, and understand the landscape in which they operate.

Here are four key areas to focus and improve on when sourcing talent in the gig economy. 


1. Improve employer brand

There’s a reason why employer branding is at the forefront of recruitment trends. Both recruiters and candidates cite company culture as one of the most important factors in the decision process, while 80% of workforce leaders agree that having a strong employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent.

Crafting a brand image which paints your company as a leader in employee engagement is key to attracting the modern freelancer, but what’s more important is backing up words with action.

The power of word-of-mouth as an acquisition stream in the gig economy should not be underestimated. Research shows that 44% of gig workers hear about opportunities through their peers, so one bad experience could cost crucial referrals. Companies in the industry need to do more for their contingent workforce if they want recruitment efforts to be more fruitful, and to reduce cost of acquisition.

Building comprehensive schemes that include healthcare benefits, sick pay and tangible perks will go a long way in showing gig workers that you value them and the skills they bring to your company. 

Rewards schemes are also a great way to attract talent and engage high performing workers. Whether it’s a driver loyalty program like Uber Pro, or offering exclusive partner discounts and opportunities like GrubHub, putting schemes in place that recognize and reward the work that freelancers do for your business is key to establishing yourself as an attractive employer.

Once you have these measures in place, the next step is to communicate through various channels why gig workers should work for you. With 62% of jobseekers turning to social media to evaluate a company’s employer brand, having a strong online presence which is tailored to your on-demand prospects and showcases the benefits of partnering with your company should be top priority.

2. Support learning and development

The modern workforce is looking for more than just a job; they also want opportunities to develop and upskill. Deloitte research shows that ongoing development support is the most important benefit that millennial job seekers are looking for, and the gig industry is no different. With millennials making up 44% of freelancers in the US alone, it’s never been more important to appeal to this demographic.

The assumption that gig workers have little room to progress is exactly the reason why on demand companies should offer additional learning and development opportunities. Position yourself as a business that invests in your gig workers and empowers your contingent workforce to perform at their best.

A great example of this is the work that Uber has done to prioritise driver wellbeing and quality of life in Latin America. The ride-share company launched an initiative across six Latin American countries aimed at closing educational gaps and helping their drivers learn new skills focused around personal growth, from practical personal finance tips and preparing for the future, to time management and interpersonal skills.

Traditional methods of learning and development will need to be revamped, however. A modern workforce requires a modern training strategy, and learning material will need to be adapted for this forward-thinking and time-scarce learner demographic. Jon Younger from the Harvard Business Review highlights that “training is going to have to be just as agile as the workforce - where speed, flexibility and innovation are key”. 

So, how to make learning accessible to those constantly on the go? By utilizing proven methods such as mobile learning which are tailored to gig workers’ specific needs and schedules. Allowing learners to easily access bite-sized microlearning material via their mobile devices at a time that’s convenient for them makes for an experience that is more engaging, and produces better results.

Not only does mobile learning improve productivity by 43%, it also fosters a greater sense of loyalty to the employers who invest in their development, which is central to fighting churn in the gig economy.

3. Invest in technology

Anyone looking to improve their high volume hiring strategy will understand the power of leveraging technology. Recruiting in the gig economy, however, requires an even deeper understanding of digital hiring methods.

3 in 4 gig workers say technology makes it easier for them to find work, while 53% of young adults in the US use their smartphone to secure opportunities. In order to attract a demographic entrenched in tech, companies need to go beyond conventional hiring methods and embrace new channels of recruitment. 

Social recruiting is the latest trend making waves in the recruitment sector, as more jobseekers head to social media channels and professional networks instead of relying on traditional job boards and recruiting agencies to find work. 

Utilizing tech for your recruitment strategy isn’t just about finding the right channels however, it’s also about streamlining processes and ensuring you’re targeting the right kind of freelancer for your company. 

When trying to hire lots of new talent - and fast - it can become difficult to keep track of applications and prevent skilled candidates from slipping under the radar. Sifting through hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of applications is not only time-consuming, but potentially costly. 

Automating processes by switching to recruiting software and mobile apps can save valuable time at all levels of the acquisition funnel. Whether it’s shortlisting candidates or collecting paperwork, delegating menial tasks to intelligent platforms means you can focus on finding the right freelancers for you. The rise of big data and AI-powered algorithms also offers hiring managers the opportunity to get even more familiar with their potential hires’ needs and fine-tune their strategy accordingly.

“Recruitment and talent management tech should be considered non-negotiable for on-demand companies because it does two important things: it streamlines worker acquisition, and powerful algorithms eliminate a lot of the guesswork involved in finding and assessing talent.” - Rolf Bax,

4. Build meaningful relationships

In an industry of fast-paced exchanges and fleeting collaborations, establishing a meaningful connection with freelancers is the simplest way to gain their trust and their expertise.

Just because gig workers aren’t full time employees, doesn’t mean you can’t develop long term relationships with them. In fact, harnessing a pool of skilled, agile talent that you can draw upon when needed is a highly effective way to combat the twists and turns of the on-demand industry. Leaning upon experienced and trusted contractors allows businesses to respond quickly to market trends and better manage fluctuations in demand. 

In its report on the state of the gig economy in 2021, Randstad iterates the importance of freelancers as ‘potential advocates’ of your brand. In addition to being a pre-identified source of talent, gig workers can also function as an engaged community that is well-versed in your company values and therefore invested in its success. 

As we touched on previously, word-of-mouth is a powerful tool within the gig economy, and having a fleet of freelancers that advocate for your brand is the golden ticket to a healthy acquisition stream.

Once you’ve attracted the right talent, the next challenge is to prevent them from dropping off at the first hurdle. We’ve partnered with leading on-demand companies including Uber, Deliveroo and Gorillas to deliver mobile-based onboarding, helping to minimise churn and cut time to productivity from 2 weeks to just 70 minutes.

Book a free demo now to find out how we can streamline your onboarding process and hook new hires 👇