We’re seeing major social change, across Britain and globally as people redefine the pattern of work. More and more workers seek the flexibility to choose where and when they work to achieve a better work-life balance, and the result is a rapidly growing gig economy.

The gig economy provides the worker with total control over their work-lifestyle, with ever-increasing levels of compliance and protection thanks to crowdwork sites.

Most industries are seeing some level of adoption of the gig economy and this is only likely to grow. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of self-employed people in the UK has risen by 45 percent since 2001, with more than 15 percent of the UK labour force classed as self-employed in 2017. Since 2010, there has been a 25 percent increase in non-employer businesses within the UK’s private sector, a greater and faster rate of employment growth than other private sector SMEs.

For regulated industries such as security, cleaning and logistics, however, the concept of a flexible, on-demand workforce has been overlooked. Because, despite years of global innovation, technology has been unable to infiltrate the regulated service industries with most in the sector fearing digital transformation and excessive compliance red tape.

Until now.

The birth of Labour-as-a-Service

It’s clear that to succeed in a modern, digitally-focused world, the services industry must adapt and transform to the needs of the modern employee, who are increasingly looking to gamify their lives.

Many workers use the gig economy model as a secondary source of income to supplement their shift-based work and enable a better standard of living. For example, people on zero hours or part time contracts may look for additional flexible shifts at evenings or weekends and they need a quick and easy way to find job openings and flexible roles.

Just like in the goods industry, service workers are increasingly dictating the way they want to work; flexibly, on smart phones and for a range of different companies. They no longer want to go searching jobs boards or trekking to a high street recruiter. They want a smarter way of working that puts them in control and means they can find work, cover shifts and get paid in a much more streamlined and efficient way.

Enter Labour-as-a-Service (LaaS).

Technology that powers the on-demand service sector

Technology that can disrupt and empower the services industry is ready and raring to go, with artificial intelligence (AI), gamification and apps the three main drivers. It’s not particularly revolutionary to suggest this; it’s a trend that’s clearly visible and successful in other markets and sectors.

The modern worker wants to gamify their life and their work, whether they are part of a permanent or temporary workforce. The regulated service industries can meet this demand by engaging with and motivating their on-demand staff using game theory and designs. It can also support the candidate screening and job application process – a major compliance hurdle in the regulated industries.

Along with compliance concerns with the gig economy model of working, the perceived lack of commitment and loyalty a temporary member of staff is likely to show is another barrier for the regulated services industry. Using gaming principles such as profile rating, performance-related milestone achievements, behavioural quizzes and community engagement, employers can improve performance, commitment and interest in a firm among a transient workforce.  In turn, building meaningful relationships, boosting employee motivation and even supporting training and productivity.

Critically, in a candidate-driven market, it allows the service industry to reward on-demand staff for good practice, empowering and incentivising them to drive higher standards.

Accessing verified and vetted candidates for immediate short-term work has always been a major challenge for regulated industries. Gamification can speed up this process, testing skills such as accuracy, time management, creative thinking and logic. These modern strategies will enable firms within the services sector to establish a real point of difference at a time when unemployment is at its lowest.

Future fabric of employment

The DNA of Britain’s workplaces will continue to redefine itself, as people strive for better lifestyles, modern benefits and a fair work-life balance.

The gig economy is one step towards achieving this, and it is working – for workers, for business, for Britain.

But the regulated services industry is playing catch-up to the likes of Uber, Deliveroo and JustEat. As a sector that is ripe for innovation, now is the time to modernise, digitise and transform to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding gig economy model of working.

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Tom Pickersgill is the founder and CEO, Broadstone. Broadstone’s Labour-as-a-Service temporary staffing platform leverages Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to match job seekers with fair and flexible temporary work opportunities with some of the UK’s employers. The platform features many tech innovations including a machine learning matching algorithm, facial recognition identity checks, automated invoice/payroll processing, AI-driven chatbot and a geolocation punch clock – making the product one of the most innovative staffing platforms in the market.