Gig Culture is the new career of choice, but are Irish businesses ready to let go of the traditional employee? Brave’s Shemaine Doyle on a new way of working.
Over the past year we have all heard someone in business say some version of “people just don’t want to work anymore.” And they’re right. Many people don’t want to work in a traditional manner anymore.
Having moved back from Dubai in 2021, where I spent over a decade working in corporate marketing, I decided to start up my own marketing consultancy, to bring the experience I had built abroad to a range of Irish clients.
“Gig culture as a whole isn’t a new concept. In Ireland businesses have been engaging consultants for years”
Since moving back I have noticed a drastic change in the way that Irish professionals are approaching their own careers, not only in marketing but across a spectrum of creative industries. People want balance, they don’t want to work a 9-to-5 anymore, because we all know a 9-to-5 is actually an 8-to-8, but they want flexibility and to still have thriving careers.
This gig culture has created a new way of working.
Companies are struggling to find full time talent to work in a traditional way. However, this change in attitude towards working in a traditional manner actually creates a great opportunity for both businesses and freelance professionals, there is void for creative professionals to fill, just not in a traditional way.
“Irish people are known for their entrepreneurial spirit, so this shift towards stepping away from a traditional way of working to carve out something more independent is not surprising”
The core offering at my agency, Brave, is to unlock opportunities through creative marketing strategy. I come in at a senior level to work with the CEO and / or existing marketing team to create a strategy that can develop growth opportunities for their business. I have a particular passion for those within the food and beverage industry, and I have found that what Brave offers is well received in this sector.
Companies are time poor, their existing teams are often understaffed and they don’t have time to think about the big picture, how to target the right customer, how to build their portfolio or how to expand into new markets. I plug myself in at a strategic level, develop the strategy and then let them activate it, or in some cases I will further the relationship and activate the strategy for them with my team. Brave has been able to step in to cover the duties of a short-term contract, a maternity leave or for very particular, tailored projects. I have the flexibility to create my own schedule and as such can be flexible for a variety of clients.
How gig culture works
Gig culture is beneficial to me, as it allows me to have control over my own schedule and workload, but it also allows my clients to work with someone with a wealth of experience for the time they need me.
“The tide has turned. For most people who have made the change to freelancing, they will never go back”
This is the opportunity for businesses. Instead of trying and struggling to fill roles that there is a short supply of candidates for, Irish businesses can now avail of an entire ecosystem of freelancing experts who are fully bought into gig culture. Short-term projects, ongoing retainers, contract cover, there are so many professionals available.
Gig culture as a whole isn’t a new concept. In Ireland businesses have been engaging consultants for years, but there is a mindset that certain roles such as marketing should be fulfilled internally. However, we’re living in a post-pandemic world and people who are building their careers, especially those with valuable experience have come to realise that there is so much more to life than sitting in traffic for two hours to sit a desk in the city centre for eight hours every day, when they can earn a living and have more freedom by working for themselves. Even hybrid roles are losing their appeal because people don’t feel as fulfilled in these traditional roles anymore.
Irish people are known for their entrepreneurial spirit, so this shift towards stepping away from a traditional way of working to carve out something more independent is not surprising. People still want to work hard, to give it 100%, but they want to do it on their own terms. They want to avoid burnout and work smarter.
There is a cohort of businesses that are really struggling to adapt. They don’t want to let go of the employee structure they are used to. If they opened themselves up to working with the slew of creative freelancers available they could in fact get far more than they thought would be possible with just one employee. I, as a creative consultant myself, work with freelancers, a virtual assistant and other consultants. We all dig in, give the client the best possible experience and then we step away, until the next collaborative project. It’s flexible and it works.
The tide has turned. For most people who have made the change to freelancing, they will never go back. Those at the top level of businesses need to ask themselves do we want to work with the best or do we want to cling on to an outdated idea of what working looks like? Those who embrace the former are bound to see more dynamic results, more creative solutions and far more benefits to their businesses.