How to Navigate in the Gig Economy

The life sciences workplace is changing. Over the past few years, several economic and sociological factors have contributed to a rise of professional freelancers while at the same time seeing a reduction of benefits tied to full-time employment.

This has given rise to the ‘gig-economy’ – a phrase used more and more to mean a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

A joint Field Nation/Future Workplace Network study, Understanding The Gig Economy, reports that nearly three-quarters (74%) of companies plan to contract with more freelancers while 28 percent actually plan to hire a greater number of freelancers than full-time employees by 2020.

Why is this important?

First, it’s important to realize that freelancing is transforming into a strategic element, rather than an operational tactic in business.

Now more than ever, organizations are accepting temporary employees as a source for critical expertise and realize the benefits of having access to skills on an as-needed basis, rather than shouldering the cost of keeping the expertise in house. This, coupled with the social acceptance of freelancing as a viable ‘job’ rather than simply someone in transition, allows a business to use temporary talent to drive growth and to meet challenges at a higher level.

Note the elevated value of individual expertise

Another significant trend is the shift from preferring generalists to recognizing the competitive value multiplier of having multiple specialists at your disposal. Augmenting your team with the right person at the right time gives you significant leverage over your resource budgets.

Flexible access to an on-demand and highly skilled global talent pool brings hidden costs

Attitudes and technology have contributed to a wider variety of places in which you can find such talent. But having greater access to a broader pool brings with it a set of its own challenges. You are now faced with the task of vetting the potential freelancers, and making sure they are qualified for the position. Compared to the time you’d normally spend sourcing a full time candidate, finding a consistent flow of freelance talent for temporary positions can quickly make up a much larger percentage of the effort required. This is before you even add the task of keeping in compliance with labor and IRS regulations.

In addition to a specific skill set, a temporary resource must be capable to come up the learning curve quickly; adding some complexity to the recruiting process.

The answer to alleviating the pressure, of course, is to find a trusted partner who can do the up-front work for you, help you navigate the shifting landscape, and limit both the effort and the risk of doing it yourself. According to the Field Nation study, more than 40% of the top performing organizations work with a staffing agency to share the load.

So, how do you know a particular staffing agency can REALLY serve your needs?

By asking the right questions.

We’ve compiled a list of eight critical questions you must ask your staffing agency if you want to ensure they can deliver for you, and meet your specialized needs.

You can download it here for free.

Use this list and give yourself some peace of mind when selecting a staffing partner to join you on this journey.

Navigating the gig-economy has its own complexities, and life-sciences takes it to another level. Making the right decision on your staffing agency is the first important step in ensuring your projects steer towards success – keeping you nimble, and giving you capability and capacity like never before.


Turesol is one of the 3 business units of Tunnell Consulting. We are a staffing agency that specializes in the resource needs of pharmaceuticals, biologics and biotech companies. Working closely and pooling recruiting resources with our sister companies (Tunnell Life Sciences and Tunnell Government Services), we have access to a vast network of vetted consultants. Importantly, our combined in-house knowledge and expertise in Life Sciences is broad and deep.

Turesol has the speed and cost of a staffing agency combined with the expertise of Tunnell.