Last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that of the 12.5 million paid workers in Australia, 2.6 million (20.6%) were employed on a casual basis. These figures reinforce that ‘casualisation’ isn’t a passing fad but a global trend that is set to redefine the modern workforce as one with a different mindset from the past.

Workers who are embracing on-demand opportunities are looking for experiences, growth, specialisation and the flexibility of switching work ‘on and off’ to suit their unique schedules and lifestyle over traditional long term stability. Hiring for short term roles certainly isn’t a new concept and from a business perspective, it’s a more cost effective option. What has changed though is the increasing demand (by both workers and businesses) for shorter term on-demand employment and the way we go about seamlessly connecting buyers and sellers of labour.

The number of casual workers in Australia has grown by 53% over the past 20 years

So who makes up the biggest proportion of the on-demand workforce in Australia? According to research conducted by the AI Group, casual work is most prevalent in the hospitality industry, with over 50% of its workforce being casual/on-demand. The largest demographic profile of a casual worker is the 20-24 year group with 503,000 workers (41.7% of the national workforce). For those aged 25 to 60 years, the numbers drop dramatically to 12.7% but rise again for workers aged 60 years and over. This shows us that on-demand work is attractive throughout all stages of your career.

The pros and cons of on-demand work

Casual on-demand working is an excellent way to supplement your income at any stage of your career. Whether you’re a student looking for shifts that work in with your study schedule, a parent looking for a casual work close to home and in school hours or a permanent employee seeking to supplement your income – you control where (and when) you work. Some of the benefits on-demand work are – more flexibility, greater variety of work via short term career ‘experiences’, the opportunity to meet new people and build a toolbox of specialist/niche skills. With engines like Simployable, hourly rates are set upfront and once you’ve completed your shift and had it approved, you’ll be paid the next day via InstaPay.

For employers, hiring an on-demand workforce is a very cost effective solution. Vacancies are filled quicker from a pool of pre-screened talent; saving business owners time in screening and interviewing and thousands of dollars in recruitment fees. By utilising an on-demand workforce, businesses only hire when they need to which makes it easier to manage the peaks and troughs in operations as the result of seasonality.

On the flip side, on-demand work isn’t for everyone. Typically these roles are short-term and don’t offer the same benefits of a permanent role. There may be certain times in your life when long term stability is a real priority but the beauty of on-demand work is that you can switch it ‘on or off’ anytime you want. The world of work is changing and employers are recognising the benefits of flexibly engaging on-demand professionals on their own terms.