26. Feb 2020

How apps are restructuring the workforce and employment

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It was not that long ago that CVs, cover letters, job boards (both physical and online), face-to-face interviews and phone calls were the norm. You would hunt down openings, through friends, through trade publications, through newspapers. You’d pack your documents into envelopes and post them off. You’d wait for the phone to ring, you’d interview, you’d give your references a heads-up and you’d make that follow-up call. It was a tedious process, especially if applying at more than one place. But if all went well, you’d land yourself a decent enough job. Preferably full-time with benefits.

But how things have changed. How far we’ve come. The smartphone has streamlined nearly every aspect of our lives. No longer do we have to call the taxi office and explain a location -- with the tap of an app, our driver knows our exact coordinates and the fastest possible route to get there. We find our dates with a swipe to the right and restock our groceries just as easily. 

This process of streamlining has extended to the job market as well, with radical effects. Let us have a look at some of the ways apps have changed the way we think about employment.

The Birth of the “Gig Economy”.

With the advent of apps such as Uber, Lyft, Wolt, Airbnb, Upwork, and the likes, we have witnessed the emergence of what has been dubbed the “gig economy”. In essence, the gig economy is composed of workers acting as independent contractors directly supplying a good or service to the consumer with whom they are linked via a specific app. Rather than being paid-by-the-hour or a salary, the contractor is paid for the “gig” performed. They determine their own schedules, working as much or as little as they want. And working how they want.

Want your pet to sit? Download Rover. Want to be chauffeur? Sign up with Uber.  Want to help somebody move? Register with Bellhop or Dolly. Fancy yourself a chef? Get cooking at home with Feastly. 

The list goes on and on.

This has lead to an unprecedented degree of autonomy and flexibility amongst the workforce, which is seen by many as qualities more desirable than the perks that are otherwise associated with a fixed contract, full-time work. Others simply treat these gigs as a convenient to supplement their normal, steady work. Whatever the case, a study by Intuit predicts that within the next two years, 40% of the workforce will be working in “gig” type jobs based upon apps tailored to an array of specific needs.   

Professional Profile Apps Eliminating Headaches

Forget about keeping reams of documents and CV pages in folders and cabinets. Gone are the days of messing about and updating your CV in MS Word. Professional profile apps like LinkedIn now preserve your work history, your educational credentials, and testimonies to your skill sets, references and all in simple, easy-to-use apps. The benefit here is not only for the job seeker either: such streamlined, centralized databases are of immeasurable value to employers and recruiters as well, allowing them to seek out and filter candidates far more rapidly and efficiently, eliminating the hassle of having to wade through mounds of A4 sheets. 

In the same way, a suitor can use a dating app to seek out companion based on certain desired attributes, employers can now use these apps to locate the ideal job candidate with minimal time loss. 

The Extinction of the Online Job Board and the Rise of the Mobile Job App

It is predicted that the traditional online job board is soon to go the way of Dodo as it is quickly being overtaken by mobile job apps. The reasons for this are varied but obvious:

  • The average job seeker is often on the go, without much time to spare at a desktop computer. It is more convenient for them to apply for jobs from their phone while sitting on the bus or grabbing a coffee in the morning.
  • The sheer amount of time we spend on our phones. Need to kill some time while waiting for a text? What better way than clicking around on a mobile job app.
  • They store all our pertinent information. No need to attach a bunch of requisite documents to the application: These apps forward everything of import with one tap.

As employees shift more and more towards mobile job application apps and away from traditional online boards, recruiters must learn to adapt to this new setting, in order to survive. In a fast-paced world, the candidate’s time is critical, and the application process should be as streamlined as possible, so as to not turn them off. Five minutes could easily mean the difference between a candidate accepting an interview with one employer or accepting a job with another.

What’s Next? Suffice to say, this is just the beginning of the app revolution in employment and working. 2020 is bound to witness the advent of further apps sure to revolutionize the way we hire, work and live.