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Financial firms to ‘significantly increase’ use of gig economy workers

PwC believes that gig economy employees will likely perform 15% to 20% of the work of a typical institution within five years

More than half (52%) of financial institutions expect to have more gig-based employees over the next three to five years, according PwC’s report, ‘Productivity 2021 and beyond: Upskilling the workforce of the future to create a competitive advantage in financial services’.

The second iteration of PwC’s productivity research, which surveyed over 500 financial services businesses globally, and received over 60% of responses from C-suite leaders, looked at some key work streams implemented by financial services businesses and “evaluated its impact on productivity”.

The report states that upskilling of the workforce is a “key element” to improving productivity within financial services. This includes better understanding of the workforce, embracing the platform economy and gig workers and making sure employees are equipped with the right digital tools, specialist knowledge and soft skills to navigate in the new normal of the business world.

It found that despite increasingly available on-demand talent, most institutions still rely primarily on full-time and part-time employees. Among respondents, contractors comprise just 9% of the workforce, and gig-economy talent makes up just 5%.

PwC believes that gig economy employees will likely perform 15% to 20% of the work of a typical institution within five years, driven by continuous cost pressure and the need to access digitally skilled talent.

Beyond the gig-economy, crowd-sourcing solutions were also highlighted as a key contributor to improve productivity. Crowd-sourcing has more than doubled since 2018, cited by 50% of the survey’s participants, from 21% in the first survey, of which 80% of respondents who leveraged crowd-sourcing believed it added ‘high value’ to their organisations. This is a significant increase from just 39% who felt it would add value in 2018.

John Garvey, PwC’s Global Financial Services Leader, PwC US, said: “Leaders in the industry are looking seriously at their workforces to evaluate which roles need to be performed by permanent employees and which can be performed by gig-economy workers, contractors or even crowd-sourced on a case-by-case basis.

“Covid-19 and remote working have opened the door to accessing talent outside of a firm’s physical location, including outside of the country. What we are seeing now is a talent marketplace for gig workers in financial services, competing to take advantage of their specialist skill set and boost productivity within their businesses.”

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