The gig economy: How it impacts candidate recruitment

As a recruiter, HR professional, or anyone working in the world of talent acquisition, you have probably heard the term ‘the gig economy’, once confined to tech-savvy millennials, has rapidly transformed the way all firms work especially after the covid-19 pandemic, and consequently, has transformed how you search for and hire top talent for your organization.

In this article, we cover the key dimensions of the gig economy’s impact on recruitment practices. We explore what the future holds for this ever-evolving workforce and discover the specific skills that are in high demand for future best talent. We also cover the best hiring practices to secure top talent in today’s competitive labor market.  

The future of work is a thrilling ride, and we’re here to guide you through it. Let’s uncover the strategies, insights, and trends that will make the future world of the gig economy. Are you ready to embrace the future of recruitment? Let’s begin.


  1. What is the gig economy?
  2. What are the most in-demand skills in the gig economy?
  3. What are the best hiring practices in today’s market?
  4. How to maximize recruitment efficiency with assessment tools and automation for your recruitment in the gig economy?
  5. What does a partnership with Assess Candidates bring to the hiring of gig workers?
  6. FAQs and Glossary of Terms

1. What is the gig economy?

The gig economy, often referred to as the “freelance” or “on-demand” economy, is a labor market characterized by short-term contracts, freelance work, and temporary positions.

Gig workers, also known as independent contractors, freelancers, or gigsters, are individuals who perform tasks or projects on a flexible, per-task basis, often through digital platforms.

The gig economy is expanding 3x faster than the total US workforce.

The gig economy has grown exponentially with the rise of technology and digital platforms, making it easier for gig workers to connect with potential employers.

Now let’s see the foundations for these trends.

What are the key drivers and trends shaping the future of the gig economy?

  • Technological Advancements: Apps and websites, such as Uber and Upwork, have revolutionized the way people find gig work, creating a seamless connection between gig workers and employers.
  • Economic Uncertainty: The gig economy has become a lifeline for many during economic downturns, providing opportunities for income when traditional jobs may be scarce.
  • Work-Life Balance: A desire for greater flexibility and work-life balance has led to an increasing number of people seeking gig work as it allows them to set their own schedules.
  • Skill Diversity: Companies are seeking specialized skills for short-term projects, which has led to a demand for diverse talent in the gig economy.

Gig economy IT projects used 30% fewer full-time equivalents than traditionally staffed IT projects.
Constellation Research

Gig workers are no longer limited to low-skill, low-wage jobs. Highly skilled professionals, from software developers to graphic designers, are now active participants in the gig economy. Gig work is also not just a side hustle for many; it’s a primary source of income and a career choice. The traditional divide between employees and freelancers is blurring, and businesses are adapting to these changing dynamics by integrating gig workers into their workforce strategies.

Recruitment made easy – for you and your candidates.

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2. What are the most in-demand skills in the gig economy?

In the gig economy, skills are the currency that sets top talent apart. As a recruiter or HR professional, understanding the specific skills that are in high demand is crucial for effectively sourcing and attracting gig workers. 

The gig economy grew by 33% in 2020, expanding 8.25x faster than the US economy as a whole.
Small Biz Trends

The following skills are among the most sought-after in the gig economy:

8 skills that are most in demand in the gig economy

  1. Digital Proficiency: Digital skills, including proficiency in data analysis, digital marketing, and social media management, are highly valuable. Businesses need experts who can navigate the digital landscape and drive online strategies.
  1. Technical Expertise: Technology is at the core of many gig jobs. Developers, programmers, cybersecurity experts, and other tech-savvy professionals are consistently in demand.
  1. Creativity: In a rapidly evolving marketplace, creativity is praised. Graphic designers, content creators, and artists often find a wealth of opportunities in the gig economy.
  1. Project Management: The ability to effectively manage projects and teams is essential, especially in the context of short-term, high-impact gig work.
  1. Data Science: Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses. Professionals who can extract insights, make data-driven decisions, and build predictive models are indispensable.
  1. Adaptability: Gig workers often need to pivot quickly, taking on diverse tasks and roles. The ability to learn on the fly, handle change, and embrace new challenges is highly valued.
  1. Versatility: As a recruiter, look for candidates who can wear multiple hats. Gig workers who can switch between tasks and add value in various roles.
  1. Soft Skills: In addition to hard skills, soft skills like effective communication, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence are essential. These skills enable gig workers to collaborate seamlessly with different teams and adapt to varied work environments.

25–34 is the most prominent age group when it comes to independent workers.

Navigating the gig economy talent pool effectively involves a combination of leveraging technology, building relationships, and employing tried-and-true hiring practices. Recognising the skills that are most in demand and the qualities that make a gig worker stand out will help you identify top talent in this competitive landscape.

Soft skills are highly in demand in the gig economy.

How to navigate the gig economy talent pool?

In the gig economy, the talent pool is vast and diverse. Navigating this pool efficiently and identifying the right fit for your projects or positions is an art in itself.

How to find top gig workers:

  • Specialized Platforms: Leverage specialized platforms and websites that cater to gig workers. Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and LinkedIn ProFinder can help you connect with skilled professionals.
  • Professional Networks: Building and maintaining relationships with gig workers is key. Networking events, industry conferences, and online forums can be valuable sources for finding top talent.
  • Freelance Communities: Many gig workers are part of niche communities and forums. Engage with these communities to tap into their specialized knowledge and skills.
  • Interviews and Assessments: Conduct thorough interviews and assessments to gauge a candidate’s skills, adaptability, and versatility. These can reveal a lot about a gig worker’s potential to thrive in your project or role.
  • Trial Projects: Consider assigning short trial projects to assess a candidate’s real-world performance. This minimizes risks and provides insight into how a gig worker operates in your specific context.
  • Feedback and Reviews: Pay close attention to a gig worker’s reviews and feedback on platforms. Positive reviews from past clients are often indicative of quality work and professionalism.

Partner with Assess Candidates for top technology and decades of psychometric experience.

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3. What are the best hiring practices in today’s market?

The ability to attract and retain top talent is directly linked to your hiring practices. Here is a quick guide on how to best adapt the hiring practices to attract, retain, and maximize the potential of gig workers. 

By 2027, companies will be spending $6 billion on improving the rights of gig workers.

These best practices not only enhance your ability to secure top talent but also promote long-lasting partnerships that can drive success in the dynamic world of gig work.

21 best practices for hiring in the gig economy.

  1. Clear Position Descriptions: Craft concise and informative job descriptions that emphasize the project’s scope, timeline, and expectations. Gig workers value clarity in their assignments.
  1. Highlight Opportunities for Growth: Emphasize how the gig may lead to future collaborations or referrals. Many gig workers are looking for opportunities to build long-term relationships.
  1. Flexible Compensation Structures: Offer competitive pay rates and consider alternative compensation models, such as project-based or performance-based pay, to attract top talent.
  1. Efficient Communication: Streamline your communication process. Gig workers often value efficient communication and quick decision-making.
  1. Embrace Digital Platforms: Utilize freelancing platforms or websites to tap into a diverse pool of gig workers and simplify the hiring process.
  1. Leverage Skills Assessments: Incorporate skills assessments or practical tasks into the hiring process. This helps you gauge a candidate’s abilities accurately.
  1. Personalized Approach: Recognize that gig workers are individuals with unique preferences and work styles. Tailor your approach to their needs and aspirations.
  1. Streamlined Onboarding: Simplify onboarding processes to ensure a seamless transition into the gig role. Provide access to necessary tools and resources promptly.
  1. Transparency: Foster trust by being transparent about project details, expectations, and compensation. Honesty builds lasting relationships.
  1. Feedback and Recognition: Regularly provide constructive feedback and acknowledge a gig worker’s contributions. Recognition can go a long way in building loyalty.
  1. Professional Development: Offer opportunities for skill development or upskilling. Show an interest in their professional growth, and they’ll be more likely to return for future projects.
  1. Regular Check-Ins: Keep in touch with freelancers during and after the project. A simple “How are you doing?” message can strengthen your relationship.
  1. Repeat Collaboration: If a freelancer delivers quality work, consider offering them additional projects. Long-term collaborations can be highly beneficial for both parties.
  1. Contracts and Agreements: Clearly outline the terms of engagement in contracts or agreements. This protects both parties and ensures a mutual understanding of the project scope.
  1. Cultivate a Freelancer Network: Build a network of freelancers with diverse skills. This way, you can quickly tap into expertise when new opportunities arise.
  1. Clear Expectations: Define the boundaries and expectations for flexibility. Ensure that both parties are on the same page regarding deadlines, communication, and project scope.
  1. Contract Flexibility: While gig workers appreciate flexibility, they also seek stability. Consider offering longer-term contracts or part-time arrangements for recurring work.

84% of freelancers are living their preferred lifestyle compared to 54% of employees working in traditional jobs.

  1. Benefits and Perks: Explore offering benefits or perks to gig workers, such as access to professional development opportunities, health benefits, or even remote work options.
  1. Open Communication: Encourage gig workers to communicate their needs for flexibility or stability. Listen to their concerns and strive to find mutually beneficial solutions.
  1. Legal Compliance: Ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations, even when working with gig workers. Being legally compliant is vital for maintaining stability in your workforce.
  1. Market Insights: Stay informed about market rates and industry standards for compensation and working conditions. This knowledge can help you strike the right balance.

According to 62% of executives, an external workforce enables them to improve the company’s overall financial performance.
SAP Fieldglass

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4. How to maximize recruitment efficiency with assessment tools and automation for your recruitment in the gig economy?

As the gig economy continues to expand, the role of technology and automation in the recruitment process becomes increasingly vital. In this section, we’ll explore how you can leverage assessment tools and automation to streamline your recruitment efforts in the gig economy. 

What is the role of technology in modern recruitment?

Technology has revolutionized the way recruiters source and select talent – here are some key aspects of technology’s role in modern recruitment:

  • Online Recruitment Platforms: Platforms like LinkedIn, Upwork, and Indeed have become essential for connecting with gig workers. These platforms allow you to access a diverse talent pool with ease.
  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): ATS software streamlines the candidate management process, helping you organize applications, automate communication, and track progress.
  • Data Analytics: Data-driven recruitment uses analytics to make informed decisions about candidates. This helps identify high-performing gig workers quickly.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI-powered tools can sift through resumes, analyze candidate responses, and even predict a candidate’s success in a role, saving time and resources.
  • Automated Job Posting: Use an ATS to automatically post job listings across multiple platforms, saving you time and ensuring a broader reach.
  • Pre-screening Questionnaires: Implement pre-screening questionnaires to filter out candidates who don’t meet essential criteria, reducing the time spent reviewing unqualified applications.
  • Video Interviews: Conduct initial video interviews to get a sense of a candidate’s personality, communication skills, and cultural fit without scheduling in-person meetings.
  • Automated Reference Checks: Use automated reference check tools to gather feedback from previous employers quickly, gaining insights into a candidate’s work history and performance.
  • Onboarding Automation: Streamline the onboarding process by using technology to facilitate paperwork, training, and introductions to the organization.
Video interviews help companies assess more candidates and find better talent.

How to use assessment tools and automation to hire gig workers?

Incorporating assessment tools and automation into your recruitment strategy is essential to maximize efficiency in the gig economy. These technologies not only save time and resources but also enhance the quality of your hires. With a proactive approach to technology adoption and careful consideration of the challenges, you can position yourself for success in the new world of gig work.

First, let’s take a look at several advantages and common challenges of using automated screening and assessment tools when recruiting for the gig economy.

4 top benefits of automated screening and assessment.

  1. Efficiency: These tools save time by automating repetitive tasks, enabling you to focus on high-priority activities such as candidate engagement and relationship building.
  1. Objective Decision-Making: Automated assessments provide data-driven insights, reducing bias and increasing objectivity in the selection process.
  1. Cost Savings: By reducing the time required for manual screening and assessment, you can cut down on recruitment costs, which is especially important when hiring gig workers.
  1. Improved Quality of Hires: Automated tools help identify the most qualified candidates, increasing the likelihood of hiring top talent.

While technology and automation offer significant advantages, they also come with certain challenges. Here are ways to overcome these challenges.

How to overcome common challenges with automation in recruitment?

  • Data Security: Protect candidate data by ensuring that your assessment and automation systems comply with data protection regulations.
  • Candidate Experience: Maintain a human touch throughout the process to ensure that candidates feel valued and respected.
  • Skill Proficiency: Invest in training for your team to ensure they are proficient in using assessment and automation tools effectively.
  • Customization: Tailor your technology stack to your specific needs. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends and assessment methods to remain competitive in the gig economy.

Lastly, let’s take a quick look at how the leaders in the market have embraced these new technologies.

What are the examples of companies using assessment tools in the gig economy?

  • Uber: Uber utilizes a range of assessment tools to evaluate driver candidates, including background checks, driving history reviews, and video interviews to assess communication and customer service skills.
  • Upwork: Upwork employs skills assessments for freelancers, allowing them to showcase their expertise in areas such as writing, graphic design, and coding. Clients can easily identify top talent based on their assessment results.
  • Fiverr: Fiverr, a platform for freelancers offering various services, uses automated skill-based matching to connect buyers with sellers. This process streamlines the hiring of gig workers who have the right expertise for the project.

Fully automated recruitment solutions for modern recruitment.

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5. What does a partnership with Assess Candidates bring to the hiring of gig workers?

Assess Candidates is the pioneering force in recruitment technology, with a legacy of experience and trust that has consistently empowered our clients – recruiters and HR professionals, to enhance their hiring practices. 

Why should you use Assess Candidates to hire gig workers? 

  • Our cutting-edge AI-driven platform automates the candidate screening process, ensuring that you quickly identify the best-fit talent for your gig contracts or full time positions.
  • A wide range of skills assessment tools for gig workers, including game-based assessments and psychometric tests, enabling you to make data-driven decisions and select top candidates with future skillset for your company.
  • Best candidate experience with our user-friendly interface, simplifies the hiring process, streamlining tasks such as video interviews and reference checks leaving you more time to evaluate top pre-selected candidates. 

With Assess Candidates, you can embrace the future of recruitment with confidence and efficiency.

Assess Candidates Recruitment Platform
Dashboard of the Assess Candidates Recruitment Platform

Example of a recruitment challenge and how we at Assess Candidates can help you.

Client Problem:

At our rapidly growing company, each new vacancy brings a unique set of challenges in matching skill sets. We recruit on a project basis and often use platforms for gig workers, but with our expanding operations and evolving industry landscape, it often feels like we’re charting uncharted territory for each role on each of the projects.

Assess Candidates Solution:

Our recruitment platform is designed to reflect the need for customizing the recruitment approach and strategy especially for companies that are growing rapidly, and search for candidates whose skills perfectly align with the dynamic requirements of gig contracts. With our experts we give you all the expertise required to ensure that you are not just filling roles, but building high-performing teams that will include gig workers and permanent staff brought together to elevate your company’s results.

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6. FAQs and Glossary of Terms


  1. What is the gig economy, and how has it transformed recruitment?
    • The gig economy, often called the freelance or on-demand economy, has shifted the labor market towards short-term contracts, freelance work, and temporary positions. This transformation has redefined how recruiters search for and hire top talent, offering new opportunities for flexible, skilled workers.
  1. What are the key drivers and trends shaping the future of the gig economy?
    • The gig economy is driven by technological advancements, economic uncertainty, the desire for work-life balance, and the demand for diverse skills. Apps and platforms like Uber and Upwork have revolutionized gig work, providing income opportunities during economic downturns.
  1. What are the most in-demand skills in the gig economy?
    • Top skills in the gig economy include digital proficiency, technical expertise, creativity, project management, data science, adaptability, versatility, and soft skills. These skills are essential for thriving in short-term, high-impact gig work.
  1. What are the best hiring practices in today’s market for recruiting gig workers?
    • Best practices for hiring in the gig economy involve tailoring job descriptions, highlighting growth opportunities, offering flexible compensation, streamlining communication, embracing digital platforms, using skills assessments, providing a personalized approach, and ensuring efficient onboarding.
  1. How can assessment tools and automation maximize recruitment efficiency in the gig economy?
    • Assessment tools and automation save time, improve decision-making, reduce costs, and enhance the quality of hires. These technologies streamline the recruitment process by automating job postings, pre-screening questionnaires, video interviews, reference checks, and onboarding.
  1. What are the common challenges when using automation in recruitment, and how can they be overcome?
    • Common challenges include data security, maintaining a positive candidate experience, ensuring team proficiency, tailoring technology to specific needs, and staying updated with technology trends. Overcoming these challenges requires adherence to data protection regulations, a human-centered approach, training, customization, and continuous learning.

Glossary of Terms

  • Gig Economy: The gig economy, also known as the freelance or on-demand economy, refers to a labor market characterized by short-term contracts, freelance work, and temporary positions. Gig workers perform tasks or projects on a flexible, per-task basis, often through digital platforms.
  • Skills Assessment: A skills assessment is a method used by recruiters to evaluate a candidate’s specific abilities and expertise relevant to a job or project. These assessments help determine a candidate’s suitability for a role and their proficiency in essential skills.
  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS): An ATS is software used in recruitment to streamline the management of candidate applications and the hiring process. It automates tasks such as job posting, communication, and progress tracking, making the recruitment process more efficient.
  • Data Analytics in Recruitment: Data analytics in recruitment involves the use of data to make informed decisions about candidates. It includes the collection and analysis of data related to the recruitment process, candidate performance, and the effectiveness of hiring strategies.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Recruitment: AI in recruitment refers to the use of artificial intelligence technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing, to automate and enhance various aspects of the hiring process. AI can assist in tasks like resume screening, candidate matching, and predicting a candidate’s success in a role.

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