Have we reached peak gig economy yet? Probably not, but when a startup calling itself Gig launches, we are definitely making headway. The London-based company offers a platform targeting millennials who want to pick up shift work in the hospitality and retail sectors.
As well as enabling you to find and book work through the app, Gig’s headline feature is that once a shift is completed, workers automatically get paid within 24 hours.
If the so-called gig economy is fueling an array of services that let consumers purchase things “on-demand,” here Gig is punting employment itself as available on-demand.
“Millennials want instant gratification, they want and get it with travel (Uber), takeaway (Deliveroo) and retail (Amazon same day delivery), but they are yet to get it with work,” says Gig co-founder Antony Woodcock.
“Employment is traditionally the embodiment of all things contrary to the above. It’s structured, you work set shifts or set days, which are planned a week or more in advance and you don’t get paid until the end of the week or month. There isn’t anything instant about that.”
In contrast, there’s no obligation to work a minimum number of days or a minimum number of hours when you sign up to Gig. You simply apply for the shifts that work for you, presuming they are available. “Gig provides instant gratification by paying advances to its users 24 hours after the completion of their shift,” explains Woodcock.
He and his brother Daniel came up with the idea for Gig after they found it difficult to efficiently staff Maki, the sushi restaurant chain they opened last year.
“The traditional set eight-hour shift didn’t fall at the right time for us; our peak hours are lunchtime and around 6pm, therefore, if we had people in for a normal shift then they wouldn’t really have anything to do between the hours of 2pm to 5pm,” he says.
Likewise, it didn’t always work for Maki’s employees who wanted more flexibility. “Many of them were students so they either wanted time off to study or they wanted the shift to be planned around their social lives,” claims Woodcock.
Hence, Gig was born.
To fund its London launch, the startup has raised £1 million. Backers are mostly unnamed private investors, but includes Riaz Ladha, Chairman of Omni Group, a “traditional” recruitment agency and facilities management company operating in the hospitality industry.
In a classic case of semantic hijacking, Ladha says in a statement: “Gone are the days when people want security and longevity. It’s now all about flexibility and immediacy, and Gig serves both on a plate.”
The presumption being, of course, that job security and longevity are one and the same, and that you can’t ditch one without the other.
All hail the gig economy.