The healthcare industry is facing a growing challenge: a lack of skilled, reliable healthcare talent to fill current and future workforce needs.
That needn’t be bad news.
Companies like Airbnb,, Freelancer, Uber, Upwork, and countless others are revolutionizing the way employers and qualified workers find each other by providing a sort of “matchmaking” service. They represent a growing trend – the gig economy.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 30% of the American workforce currently works as independent contractors, and by 2020, over half of the US workforce will consist of independent contract workers, rather than full-time, salaried employees.
How the gig economy helps healthcare talent
Talented healthcare workers choose gig work over traditional employment for a variety of reasons.
Many gig workers come from the baby boom generation and are facing rising healthcare costs, limited retirement benefits, and the need to contribute a lifetime of skill and experience so they continue to feel useful and valued.
Younger workers increasingly require flexibility in their work lives to care for small children or aging parents. Gig work provides that flexibility and freedom.
Others take on gig work to supplement their income to meet personal or financial goals like saving for a new home, family vacation, or continuing their education. Many supplement the income from a more traditional job by taking on gig work as a second income.
Given the attraction of gig work, the healthcare talent pool consists of educated, qualified, motivated workers who crave the freedom and flexibility to schedule work to suit their own needs.
How the gig economy helps employers
For the healthcare industry, the growth of the gig economy is good news.
With the combined population of seasoned, knowledgeable baby boomers and some of the top talent in the healthcare industry exiting the traditional workforce in favor of the gig economy, there is a vast pool of resources available only on a contract basis.
For employers, adding gig workers to their healthcare talent strategies means reducing the costs that traditional W2 employees represent. Not only that, adding gig workers to your healthcare talent pool might just be the most flexible, scalable means of getting daily work done, and leveraging the available talent to help your company grow.
Embracing gig workers as part of your healthcare talent strategy enables you to define projects and tasks and hire the experts necessary to accomplish them. Managing those gig workers is simpler – holding each worker accountable for accomplishing a specific project or task within a given set of milestones over a specific time. You become much more able to manage and reward your employees by outcomes and accomplishments, instead of by general, often outdated job descriptions.
By adding gig workers to your healthcare talent strategy, you are able to contract with workers who have the specific talent and expertise necessary to support and promote your products, services, goals, and core competencies. That way, your internal resources and leadership can focus on the overall growth and direction of your company or practice.
If you’ve never considered embracing gig workers as a vital part of your team, analyze your goals, workflow, and strategic planning initiatives to identify any gaps in your current talent base that qualified, motivated contractors would be eager to help you fill.