What is the Gig Economy?
A gig economy is a system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The term "gig" is a slang word meaning "a job for a specified period of time" and is typically used in referring to musicians. Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.
The remote workforce provides an environment that appeals to more and more of the workforce: opportunities to build a varied skill set, work purposefully, progress at one’s own pace, maintain a work-life balance, connect globally, and operating digitally. As more people – Baby Boomers included – see this as a legitimate solution, rather than a temporary fix, this workforce will only grow.
So, What Does This Mean for Companies?
The rise of new, on-demand service providers in the past few years has generated a lot of conversation about the future of business, the “gig economy” in particular. Workers are supplementing full-time work with “side gigs”, or leaving the traditional workforce altogether, in pursuit of these new, on-demand opportunities.
By creating a pool of flexible freelancers rather than full-time employees, you can create the type of work environment that the new gig-economy craves. If you’re a brand, you can now deploy this talent into a variety of stores, cover shifts, and launch pop-up experiences all while retaining your top talent.
Surprising Stats About the Gig-Economy
The gig-economy started picking up steam about two years ago with nearly 54 million Americans participated in some form of independent work. That’s more than 33 percent of the entire U.S. workforce and is an increase of 700,000 workers over the previous year. That’s a jump that simply can’t be ignored!
When it comes to age groups, millennials are the most common group pursuing freelancing opportunities. More than one-third of Millennials are independent workers. In fact, 32 percent of Millennials believe they will be working “mainly flexible hours” in the future.
Overall, there are 54 million to 68 million independent earners in the United States. In the United States, 50% of those between the ages of 16 and 24 who earn income and 42% of earners over age 55 participate in independent work. 68% of independent primary earners would like to continue making their primary living from independent work in the future and think it is likely that they will.
Almost All New Jobs in The US Are Gigs
Recent research shows that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of Americans workers engaged in what they refer to as “alternative work” jumped from 10.7% to 15.8%. This is even more proof that the traditional full-time job is rapidly disappearing. In fact, nearly ALL of the 10 million jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were not those of traditional employment.
What Motivates Today’s Gig-Economy Workforce
As the workforce continues to shift towards a gig economy model, it’s becoming clear that there are different motivating factors that drive today’s workers. Over 8% of American adults have earned money from an online employment platform in the last year including ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft, online tasks, and cleaning services.
So, what motivates these workers to join the gig-economy? For part-time gig workers, it’s all about the flexibility. They want to be able to work when they want and where they want. For full-time workers, freelancer platforms have provided a solution to a lack of other job opportunities and the ability to build their careers on their terms.