PM Disruption: The Gig Economy

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PMI Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

The Full-Time Fallacy

A change in work patterns toward more temporary roles is disrupting project management. People change jobs more frequently, and a higher percentage of people rely on multiple revenue streams for income. The gig economy is moving from niche player to mainstream as millennials enter the workforce with different career aspirations—and organizations tap new labor markets and reduce headcounts.

In an ironic shift of fate, job security that used to come from a steady job at a traditional company is now replaced by multiple short-term gigs spread across a balanced portfolio of organizations. Traditional businesses have shorter lifespans as disruptive technologies displace them. So, more irons in the fire (concurrent, part-time engagements) seems preferable to organizational loyalty.

It is worth differentiating project management work from other forms of freelance work. Many of the statistics we see about the rise of the gig economy are for supplemental work. Sites and services like Task Rabbit, Uber and Lyft focus on these opportunities that are often pursued for secondary income. Also, unfortunately many people have been forced into temporary work out of necessity rather than choice.

A report by McKinsey found 162 million people in Europe and the United States, about 25% of the working-age population, engage in some form of independent work. Â…

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