02 October 2018

Technology law firm report casts doubt over the gig economy

Permanent employees are the most 'flexible friend' of growing businesses, not the gig economy or AI, according to new report.

Growing businesses still put recruitment of permanent resources ahead of short-term or gig economy type recruitment, artificial intelligence (AI) and other software resources, according to a new report on business agility from specialist technology law firm Boyes Turner.

No benefit

The report reveals 62 per cent of firms say they either predominately or exclusively recruit long-term, permanent employees, with only 4 per cent saying they favour short-term resources and contractors, while none are exclusively turning to this type of short-term resourcing. Nearly half, 49 percent, of firms say they see no benefit from the gig economy and 47 percent see some benefit, but only 4 pe cent say their firm benefits greatly from it. Respondent firms (91 per cent) say change-ready people were most important to growing an agile business, with only 9 per cent saying AI or other technologies are more important. Three fifths of employers (60 per cent) say they’re investing in training and coaching their existing workforce to maximise agility and resilience to change.

Gig economy doubts

Mark Blunden, partner and head of the commercial and technology group at Boyes Turner, said ‘the gig economy and AI capture the public imagination, but our report shows businesses still value recruiting, retaining and developing long-term employees and training and developing them in preference to more transient types of employment types or technology and AI solutions,’ adding ‘agility comes from having a loyal and change-ready workforce, not turning to the gig economy or technology as a quick fix.’ However, firms face constraints on agility caused by both their workforce and their workspace, and 35 per cent say flexibility of employees and their capability to handle change is a greater constraint on agility than the physical workspace. Mr Blunden noted, ‘a flexible workforce needs an adaptable working environment to deliver on its growth potential.’ The full report, ;Tech be nimble, tech be quick, tech don’t forget the legal bit: Building agile businesses in a changing world’ can be downloaded here.