By David Reuben, Business Development Manager at Mindworx Consulting

Have you heard of the fourth industrial revolution? It’s the phrase being used for the workforce of the future, where technology is blurring the lines between the physical and digital workspace.

A large part of this evolution is the gig economy which is characterised by freelance, flexible and on-demand workers instead of the traditional model of full-time employment. The gig economy is increasingly making itself felt in South Africa, with both the corporate and government sectors using the right skills as and when they need them.

The International Labour Organization reports that this kind of work has been on the rise in South Africa over the past ten years. For employees this may be due to the scarcity of permanent jobs in our economy; for employers it reflects the economic advantages of using freelancers rather than incurring all the costs associated with full-time, long-term employment.

This kind of flexible resourcing allows creative freedom in reconciling business plans with people plans. Many organisations don’t need or want permanent staff to complete short-term projects and will happily build up relationships with an assortment of specialist contract workers who get to know their businesses and their needs.

This style of working particularly suits Millennials (born between 1985 and 1995/2000) and Generation Z (born after 1995). The Millennials were the first generation born into a highly digital world; to them, the internet isn’t just where they find their resources but is also where their opportunities come from.

The same can be said for Generation Z – multiplied by 100. They are the most technologically advanced generation, digital natives so at home with technology that they are dependent on it for most of their interactions with the world, not the least of which is employment.

Of course flexible resourcing is not just the province of the young. Generation X (born 1966 – 1976) generally love technology and have mastered it and the world it opens up to them. But there is another aspect to this generation, as told by our thriving consulting and resourcing services. When corporate and government clients need extra resources for limited time periods, they turn to us for experienced specialists.

We cultivate a wide range of highly competent specialists who can be parachuted in to a client’s business at short notice to successfully complete a project. The contract may be to achieve clear objectives within a specific time or it may be to solve a problem or cover for a key worker. These specialists can be relied on to get up to speed quickly, see problems and solutions clearly, treat everything they handle in confidence, and fit into the client environment with ease.

Traditional people plans are often no longer appropriate in the modern world and the same is true of traditional business plans. We all take a more creative approach to running our businesses these days, so when we talk about reconciling people plans with business plans, that can pretty much mean whatever the client needs it to mean. Flexible resourcing is the order of the day at Mindworx.