Ask a group of 10 people what they think of the gig economy, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Some couldn’t live without the flexibility it offers, while others completely disagree with the very premise. Despite the fact that people have been working gigs for decades, the surge of gig economy jobs in the past few years has resulted in a fiery debate that could only be rivaled by that of the famous Trump-Clinton showdowns in 2016.
And while there are a good amount of proponents for this work evolution, we still see a fair share of critics portray it as the “death of salaries,” or claim that it offers “false promises.” But these headlines overlook the fact that the gig economy has helped fulfill a massive service gap in virtually every industry on the market. Needless to say, we have our thoughts on why the gig economy will shape the future of work, here’s why:
Due to many economic forces over the last decade, America’s at the wake of a great recession, and there’s been a major shift in attitude. Some call it a revolution, and others have labeled the gig economy as an entirely different kind of employment. Essentially the gig economy consists of a new and confident labor force of entrepreneurs and flexible workers. All together the gig community represents 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and has been referred to as “the force that saves the American worker.”
A large amount of companies look to freelancers to solve imperative problems that their full-time employees are unable to do. Freelancers offer initiative, creativity and the skill sets that companies yearn for. Employers have a growing recognition for people who can balance work and play and for people who work on what they’re passionate about. You’ll find that freelancers in the gig economy possess all of these characteristics.
Success used to be defined as staying at a company for a long time and moving up the corporate ladder, but now success is determined by landing a job that offers flexibility. Job seekers are on the hunt for opportunities that offer flexible work policies, such as unlimited vacation or work from home options.
Many companies have integrated flexibility into their culture, but there are some job types that are unable to offer this, and that’s where the gig economy can help. The on-demand model can be integrated into every job type and gives workers control over their own schedules. They’re often more focused and productive than full-time employees and deliver greater value to their clients because they aren’t complacent with their job.
Platforms are a crucial piece that make the gig economy work. Technology has bridged the gap between traditional enterprises and the gig economy. As technology grows the gig economy seems to increase and diversify as well.
On-demand platforms have connected many freelancers and clients. Apps like Jobble, Uber and Airbnb are used as a primary engine of business activity and growth. In a world that has evolved into a portfolio career, on-demand platforms offer professional identity to the freelance community. Platforms in the realm of the gig economy are a win-win for both freelancers and employers because they feature the most qualified, professional and creative talent. The on-demand community reinforces the culture and values of the gig economy. Users are rewarded with good reviews and as a result, encourage more business.
The gig economy is a perfect fit for millennials, as many of them favor being paid by on a project-by-project basis. Since millennials are the biggest slice of the American workforce, it gives businesses a big population of people to choose from. But the gig economy doesn’t exclude any age type. Many retirees are finding other ways to replace their retirement income by participating in the gig economy. In fact, a recent study found that seniors are the fastest growing demographic of Airbnb hosts in the United States. When we say the gig economy is for everyone, it truly is! One in four U.S. households has at least one partner employed in the freelance economy.
Regardless of how the gig economy is painted in the media, it’s important that we don’t stereotype all of the people participating in it. If you’re a business that’s operating in the gig economy, let’s start working together to enhance the productivity, profitability and the wellbeing of our environment. The gig economy is a vital part of the future of work, let’s be known for its success!