The proportion of gig workers being employed in the financial services sector is expected to grow in the coming years, new research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has suggested.
In the firm’s Productivity Report for 2021, it explored the changing nature of employment within the global financial services sector, noting that a growing number of organisations are turning to the gig economy to provide the talent they need.
According to PwC’s findings, within the next five years gig-based employees are expected to perform 15 to 20 per cent of the work in the financial services sector.
This is a significant increase from the amount of work carried out by gig workers in 2020, which was estimated at five per cent in the PwC survey.
The main drivers behind this shift are the need to access digitally skilled talent, as well as continued cost pressures.
However, while organisations are intending to utilise more gig-based workers, there are concerns within the industry about taking this approach.
Among them are worries about confidentiality, regulatory risk, overall risk avoidance and a lack of knowledge.
In fact, the report also revealed that the reason why more financial services firms aren’t leveraging crowd-sourcing platforms is “a lack of institutional commitment and deeply ingrained procurement practices, particularly for talent”.
Of the organisations surveyed by PwC, 17 per cent said that they expect to see a significant increase in the number of gig-based workers employed at their firm, while a further 35 per cent believed this would increase somewhat.
To overcome challenges such as concerns around confidentiality and regulatory risk, it will be essential for financial services firms to carry out the necessary background checks to give them confidence in the people they are hiring. This could include BS7858 screening, with this standard including a specific section on risk management.
PwC also shared a case study of an Asian bank that has successfully leveraged gig economy workers to significantly lower its costs, as well as provide it with access to higher-quality talent as and when required.
Another benefit cited by the PwC case study is the opportunity for both the employer and employee to decide if they work well together before offering or accepting full-time employment.
“The bank has been able to rapidly build larger groups of key resources in critical areas and quickly meet its talent needs for specific projects,” the report added.
However, it is also worth noting that, at least in the UK, the way the gig economy works is set to change after a ruling against Uber by the country’s supreme court. As the Independent noted, the ruling has the “potential to secure better rights for everyone in insecure work and the gig economy”.
Of course, the way the gig economy works and is utilised varies from industry to industry, and in some sectors it is managed better than in others.
How the gig economy will change following the Uber ruling has yet to be seen, but it is certainly an area that many firms are likely to be keeping a close eye on, especially if they have plans to expand their use of gig workers in future.
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