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Financial services ‘will see surge in gig workers’

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As much as a fifth of the work of financial services firms is likely to be done by gig workers by 2026, driven by a need for digitally skilled talent at insurers and banks, a new PwC report says.

A PwC survey of more than 500 financial services senior executives across 15 countries found 52% expect to have more gig-based employees over coming years.

Gig workers add value by immediately bringing digital skills to improve functions such as customer experience institutional resilience while the full-time workforce is being upskilled, PwC says.

Currently, gig-economy talent makes up just 5% of financial services businesses workforce but PwC predicts that in the next five years, gig workers will perform 15-20% of the work of a typical institution.

“Many of the most valuable companies in the world … operate with relatively few full-time employees and an increasing percentage of gig-economy talent and skills that they can access on-demand, making the organisations far more innovative, nimble and cost-efficient,” PwC Global Financial Services Leader John Garvey said.

Insurers need new capabilities as technology solutions increasingly involve collaboration with third parties. Despite this, most institutions still rely primarily on full-time and part-time employees, with contractors comprising just 9% of the workforce and gig-economy talent just 5%, PwC says.

Obstacles to using more gig workers are confidentiality concerns, lack of knowledge, regulatory and overall risk avoidance.

Still, Mr Garvey says leaders in insurance are looking seriously at their workforces to evaluate which roles need to be performed by permanent employees and which can be performed by gig-economy workers, contractors or even crowd-sourced on a case-by-case basis.

COVID-19 and remote working have opened the door to accessing talent outside a firm’s physical location, including outside the country.

“What we are seeing now is a talent marketplace for gig workers in financial services, competing to take advantage of their specialist skill set and boost productivity,” he says.