Where the Gig Economy Meets the Bench Model
What is the Gig Economy?
The definition of the Gig Economy is rather simple. It is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.
The Gig Economy is nothing new. It has been around in one shape or form for decades. The terms you have probably heard throughout your career and industry are; contractor, consultant and temp. In some disciplines, like the IT sector, the Gig Economy has been the norm for years. But in other professions, particularly accounting, the term “contractor” has carried a negative connotation to it. But with the advancement of technology, and the maturing of the millennial generation in the workplace, the “Gig” work arrangement is trending up and the demand for unique work schedules is more popular than ever.
The Pros of the Gig Economy
The pros for an individual who chooses the Gig work arrangement can truly be endless. It allows workers more freedom and control over their own career path by picking and choosing projects that they are most interested in. It allows the worker to grow their interpersonal skills by becoming adaptable to multiple personalities, corporate cultures, and management styles. It gives the worker a perspective that many workers, who have only worked in one organization, simply cannot have. By working in various organizations and industries, you are able to see how different groups do similar work and bring a unique perspective to add value.
There is also great personal fulfillment in completing a successful project. Some workers lack self confidence in themselves. But once you have completed several projects and begin to receive positive feedback your confidence will grow.
The Cons of the Gig Economy
There are some serious cons to the Gig Economy that every worker has to contemplate before they decide if the work arrangements make sense for them.
The biggest con to the Gig Economy is the idle time spent in between assignments. This is commonly referred to as “bench time.” In an ideal world, the second you end one project, you would have another sitting there waiting for you. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee this will be the case. In certain situations, the down time in between assignments can be long and there is definite financial risk to the worker if they fail to budget their finances appropriately. Unless, you work for a professional services firm, like DLC who pays you as a full-time employee regardless of if you are on an assignment or not.
Another con is the lack of camaraderie and seniority that one would get in a traditional corporate career path. To be frank, companies value tenure and, simply put, a person who is only going to be at an organization for 6 months to a year usually will not get the same perks or privileges as a full-time employee.
The Bench Model and the Gig Economy
As the Gig Economy matures, so do companies like the DLC Group. The DLC Group has been in the Gig Economy before it was called the Gig Economy. The DLC Group deploys a bench consulting model. As an employee you are a full-time salaried consultant with benefits and a 401K plan. In the simplest form, you are paid regardless of your utilization.
The benefits to the employee are rather obvious. The worker is able to benefit from all the pros of the Gig Economy without being exposed to the financial risk associated with the down time between projects. It allows the worker to focus on what they do best and allows DLC’s expert business development professionals to find the worker’s next project. It also allows the workers to build seniority and career advancements within the DLC Group.
The bench model also takes the risk away from Companies using temporary workers. The biggest risk factor that companies who want to use temporary workers has, is exposure if something goes wrong. In a perfect world, nothing would ever go wrong. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. Issues will arise and companies may not have the capacity or expertise to deal with these issues. When using a firm like the DLC, companies can reduce their exposure to these unpredictable situations.
Whether you like it or not, the Gig Economy is here and is only growing. Companies like the DLC Group are embracing this change and finding unique ways to add value to its clients and to their consultants.
Author – Shawn Gillespie, Big 4 CPA
DLC Finance and Accounting Consultant
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