The global gig economy offers companies access to an ever-expanding pool of skills and knowledge. The race for this talent is intensifying in the remote work era, as more highly skilled professionals turn to independent contracting, and businesses shift their perceptions of outsourced skills and expertise.
The number of freelancers in the European Union doubled between 2000 and 2014. And estimates suggest more than 50 percent of the US workforce will freelance within a decade.
But complex payroll requirements, different currencies, and contractors’ differing payment method preferences can prevent companies from benefiting from this growing talent base.
The gig economy today covers much more than drivers or delivery couriers. The sector has expanded to cover a wider range of workers. Knowledge workers — professionals who provide expertise and in-demand skills — are becoming key players in this global workforce.
Gartner research estimates there are more than one billion knowledge workers in the world today. Developers, marketing consultants, graphic designers, and I.T. specialists are just some of the knowledge workers who are serving companies across borders and timezones.
1. Global Gig Economy Workers Boost Productivity
This new breed of global workers have a significant impact on business productivity across the world. Research by Oxford Economics and SAP Fieldglass shows:
- Almost 60 percent of executives say external workers help them compete online
- 67 percent say such workers are central to better customer and client experiences
- 62 percent say such workers are critical for meeting business needs for specialized I.T.and digital skills.
However, the shift to greater remote working and the rapid digitisation of industries such as retail and banking means companies must be strategic and organised to attract and retain the cream of the global talent crop. Technology company Philips, for example, has created its own freelance talent pool of vetted professionals.
Streamlining global payroll should be at the centre of your strategy, whether your business follows in the footsteps of Philips or turns to marketplaces for outsourced labour.
2. Global Freelance Workers Value Fast Payments
Most gig economy workers want flexibility in how they get paid, according to a recent analysis from PYMNTS. The analysis showed many gig economy workers (85 percent) would work more often, if they could get paid more quickly. A separate study of 400 independent contractors in the US carried out by Everee in late 2020 also found:
- Almost 60 percent work for more than one company
- More than 91 percent want to get paid more often than every fortnight
- 40 percent of contractors are more likely to work with companies that pay faster.
Simplifying global payroll is not only about attracting the best freelance talent — it’s also a key recruitment approach for full-time staff. For example, recent ADP research shows the following factors make a difference when candidates consider employment offers:
- Being able to select pay frequency (36 percent)
- Early access to earned wages (29 percent)
- Same-day pay access (26 percent).
Paying global suppliers, remote employees, and service providers can be resource-intensive, time-consuming, and costly. Having payees in various countries make it hard to control costs across different regions and currencies. Payees also grow frustrated when they have to pay fees or have limited access to funds. Wire transfers and automated clearing house payments take time to settle, while international bank transfers can create fees that add to company expenses and eat into gig economy workers’ incomes.
3. Embedded Financial Services Cut Payroll Costs
Embedded finance makes it possible for companies that are not in the financial services industry to provide financial products and services to customers under their own brand’s banner. The cost has been radically reduced because companies no longer need to build such financial products in-house.
For example, Nium simplifies payroll for multiple countries and currencies, with complete payment visibility, one simplified backend process, access to new global markets, speedy, real-time global payments, and a better experience for your suppliers and service providers. Importantly, payment recipients can choose how they want to get paid.
With embedded financial services, companies can send payments or expenses to global workers on company-branded cards. In this way, companies and marketplaces can give freelancers the payout flexibility they value. Payroll management is simplified, as the know-your-customer (KYC) process and onboarding are handled by the card issuer.
This removes the need for marketplaces to store bank account information. For companies, it widens access to freelancers in countries with low bank account adoption. By easily sending out funds to cards, companies can avoid the high fees for smaller payment transactions that add up across a distributed global workforce.
There are multiple ways for accounts payable professionals to pay gig economy workers — as well as a customized app for such workers to manage and receive payments instantly.
Simplify Payroll to Work With Leading Global Talent
The race for global talent is only getting started. By simplifying global worker payroll, businesses can open up additional revenue by taking a cut of FX and providing locally preferred payment methods to attract and retain the best experts. Payroll should no longer be a barrier to hiring in emerging markets. Companies can win the global talent war by providing faster, flexible payments right at the point of need.