Digging the Data for the Gig Economy: The Rise of a Data-Centric Workforce

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Click to learn more about author Kim Grennan.

If employers want to better analyze, interpret and apply data, they need to first rethink the nature of employment. They need to look at the data about the global economy, about the changing nature of work and a change in nature among workers themselves.

Employers need to educate themselves about the Gig Economy, where professionals want to pursue projects; to make a career of their pursuits, not pursue a career of the same projects from the same employer.

This phenomenon is the result, in part, of technology: Mobility enables job seekers, particularly those fluent in the collection and management of data, to do a series of interesting but temporary assignments. It gives them the flexibility they prefer – the freedom they expect – and the creativity they crave.

This set of needs and wants is not exclusive to one generation or a single class of workers. It is a sign of the times, which also means it is high time for companies to read this data before they do anything with their own.

If, in other words, a company does not review this economic data, if it is unaware this data even exists, if it spends its money (and time) on old methods in a mostly vain effort to hire conventional candidates –– if it does some or all of these things, it will find it difficult to find someone who wants to work for such a company.

The good news is that the Gig Economy offers employers and would-be employees a win-win scenario.

On the one hand, companies do not have to invest in training, hiring and providing benefits to a salaried worker; while, on the other, they are highly skilled experts at the ready. These are the very people who can make sense of data by deciphering it, by parsing it, by comparing it with case studies and reports.

These are the men and women with a mindset for solving the problem sets concerning data, so to speak. These are the individuals who welcome the chance to combine analysis with an artistic sensibility, which is to say these are thinkers a company needs to interpret its data.

Free to choose from a variety of projects, and able to award choice projects to the best professionals, gives both groups – experts and employers, respectively – a chance to turn a successful assignment into a source of recurring work.

Let us return, then, to the larger point about data: Its worth depends on the talent of the person who can separate the signal from the noise. Its value rises or falls, based on what one individual can uncover versus what another cannot see. Its message is only intelligible if someone knows how to convert so many ones and zeroes into actionable intelligence.

Put another way, companies must understand one category of data to appreciate the data about those who analyze data.

The solution rests with hiring skilled Data Architects, Data Scientists and similarly trained professionals. That solution is available now, online, where the Gig Economy is rich in talent and even wealthier in the strengths these experts possess.

That opportunity is a milestone of economic importance and social significance. It deserves recognition and acceptance

Now is the time to make data work for the good of all.


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