Gig economy gaining traction in region, but most still prefer full-time jobs: Survey

The Straits Times

Temporary employment is on the rise among the region’s workers, with Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore leading the way in the gig economy trend.

A new survey conducted by human resource solutions firm Persolkelly found that as many as 55 per cent of workers in Hong Kong felt there was now a preference for more flexible employment.

Vietnam and Thailand also registered high numbers at 50 and 48 per cent, while 47 per cent of Singapore respondents felt the same way.

Nonetheless, the study, which surveyed 9,295 hiring managers and candidates in nine markets – Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – found that most jobseekers in the region still preferred full-time roles.

Only 43 per cent of respondents felt that jobseekers were seeking flexible contract-based roles.

The same survey also found that 44 per cent of respondents identified as a problem the organisational challenges of integrating freelancers and permanent staff.

At the same time, organisations which successfully overcome this hurdle are most likely to see increased employee satisfaction and productivity, and access to a more fluid workforce that is adaptive to change.

“Employers can take some comfort that jobseekers still value permanent, full-time roles,” said Jessica Ang, regional head of corporate brands management for Persolkelly’s Apac operations.

“However, with the work ideals of each generation changing, adjustments will need to be made in the future to accommodate employees’ desire for flexibility and ensure high levels of attraction and retention,” Ms Ang added.

As expected, younger workers from Generation Z are more likely to seek temporary employment compared to the other age groups.

Generation Z refers to people born between 1995 and 2009, which means many respondents in this age group are likely to still be studying or still too young to join the workforce.

Flexibility was the most compelling reason for joining the gig economy, with 60 per cent of respondents citing flexible working hours as key reason for choosing the gig economy.

Ms Ang said: “The gig economy is becoming increasingly appealing to Gen Z workers because it affords them an increased sense of control over their careers, access to stimulating work, and the ability to grow their networks.”