The gig economy these days is seen as a much-needed antidote to the monotonous routine of a nine-to-five job. Flexibility and freedom that the gig economy offers has cultivated a strong following. However, many people are still not sure what the gig economy is about, even if they have had the experience of working alongside professional independent contractors in their teams at work.
To find answers let’s take a closer look at what the gig economy is, what it offers and what will the future of the work economy look like.
Basically, if you are or know of people who are working full-time as independent contractors or consultants – then these people are categorised as gig economy workers. The gig economy simply refers to the freelance/contract industry whereby contract workers are engaged for a temporary period or project-based jobs, instead of hiring them for permanent positions.
Millennials and Gig Economy.
The gig economy is synonymous to the ‘on-demand’ nature of the world these days. As consumers, we want our lunch delivered to our office or desks, on-demand transport services and even our groceries picked up from the supermarket and sent to our home. With social media and the instant gratification culture blowing up, the gig economy has been bolstering youths and young working adults to take their careers into their own hands. The gig economy is clearly dominated by millennials who are attracted to the flexibility to try new things, acquire new skills and meet new people.
But in general, the people who participate in the gig economy come from a variety of backgrounds. While some are part-timers who are looking to make some extra money outside of their day job, others are full-time devotees who make their living solely from on-demand work.
Types of Jobs in Gig Economy.
Gig workers include anyone from an Uber or Grab driver to project managers and developers in various projects. The gig economy also brings in high stake industries such as telecommunications, electric power, insurance and banking to name a few – utilising third party agencies that contract independent contractors to sell their products and services. The independent contractors then use various channels to approach potential customers – on the street, door-to-door at residential areas and business-to-business (b2b). This is predominantly known as face-to-face marketing – an industry that is seen to be playing a large role in building the gig economy.
Even non-profit organisations (NGOs) and charities are using independent contactors to help fundraise for the causes that they are championing. Charities/NGOs generally conduct a host of fundraising activities and continue to use volunteers to fundraise on the streets, but to maintain a sustainable fundraising program they would need a large number of daily volunteers. A regular donation is important for the sustainability of each humanitarian campaign to match their mission and agenda with helping the needy and the most critical issues. Therefore, using independent contractors to fundraise really is one of the most effective ways to raise awareness and recruit long-term donors for the many life-changing campaigns by these NGOs.
Full-time employment isn’t for everyone – the lack of freedom, the rigid 9-5 routine, flexibility and ownership can lead to some feeling disengaged from their work. The rise of the gig economy has made it easier for people to take their career into their own hands, giving them the liberty to choose what they want to do and how they want to accomplish it.
Flexibility. The gig economy allows you to choose your own working hours and how you want to work. Most of the gigs are also outdoor jobs that allows you to have a change of environment every hour almost and network with many people outside your job. The flexibility also extends to whether or not you choose to work that day – because you get paid only for the hours you work. Therefore, this may be attractive for people trying work around their personal schedules.
Independence. Gigs will teach you independence. While no one is looking over your shoulders, you have to complete the tasks given to you successfully to be paid. This will invoke a sense of accountability in you as you are responsible for your own welfare. When you finally finish it, a sense of accomplishment fills you because you managed to finish the work on your own. This is a great confidence booster.
Variety. The old office drone of repetitiveness is rare in a gig-based world. A person working as an independent contractor will be meeting a wide variety of tasks, clients, people, customers and opportunities that will keep the work interesting. Not only that, many companies these days are offering on the job training, regular networking sessions with other similar independent contractors, educational travel and workshops to keep the independent worker network enthusiastic, creative and engaged.
As we see it, the gig economy seems to be answer to the sea change we are seeing in the global economy that is relishing on consumer demands for convenience, choice, cost savings and sustainability of a good service or product. But as it is with other industries, the gig economy does come with both benefits and challenges. However, what is important to note is that, the expansion of the gig economy has opened doors to new opportunities, and it may very well be the future for all us very soon.