Gig Economy: Meaning, Causes And Benefits

Gig Economy: Meaning, Causes And Benefits

Uploaded on
Feb 9, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Uploaded on
Feb 9, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Gig Economy: Meaning, Causes And Benefits
Gig Economy: Where work meets freedom

Imagine a world where you can be a freelancer one day and a consultant the next; It Sounds like something out of a Black Mirror episode, right? Well, this is happening in real time, and it is called Gig Economy. It's a world full of hustlers and remote work where being a jack-of-all-trades is no longer a Taylor Swift song. Think of it like a choose-your-own-adventure novel, but instead of magic portals, you have the power to choose your own projects and set your own schedules. So step aside, full-time jobs; there's a new gig in town!

What is a Gig Economy? 

The Gig economy is a labour market that has gained prominence in recent years, characterized by an increased reliance on short-term contracts and freelance work. The shift towards this work arrangement is driven by the advancements in technology and a growing desire for flexible work options among workers. The phrase originates from the music industry, where musicians secure "gigs", which are one-time or brief performances at different venues/locations.

Gig workers enjoy freedom and independence, but they don't get more stability in their jobs. A lot of companies save cash by not offering benefits like health insurance or paid time off. Some employers will give some benefits, but they pass on the responsibility of managing those programs and other tasks to outside agencies. 

Understanding Gig Economy

In a gig economy, many folks work part-time, short-term gigs or as independent contractors. This leads to cheaper, more efficient services like Uber Eats and Zomato for those who are into it. But people who don't use technology and the internet may miss out on the benefits. Cities are usually the hubs for these services and are more deeply involved in the gig economy. Gig work can cover a wide range of jobs ranging from driving to coding for a freelance company. Here are some jobs and industries where you can look for job gigs.

Jobs in Gig Economy

  • Musicians
  • Graphic designers 
  • Administrative assistant
  • Tutors
  • Content writers
  • Copywriter
  • Coding
  • Network analyst 
  • Photographers
  • Driver
  • Project or office manager jobs

Factors Impacting Gig Economy

The gig economy is all about short-term contracts and freelance work instead of your traditional 9-5 job. Some of the factors driving the growth include:

1) Technological advancements: One major factor that impacts the gig economy is technology. The rise of the internet and mobile technology has made it easier to find and perform gig work. However, technology can also negatively impact the gig economy, such as increasing competition and making it harder for workers to earn a living wage.

2) Economic conditions: During times of economic hardships, people may be more likely to turn to gig work as a way to help with their income. The 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath led to a rise in unemployment and underemployment, which in turn has driven people towards gig work as a means of earning a living. 

3) Flexibility: Gig work provides flexibility regarding work hours, location and type of work, which is attractive to many people. 

4) Changing attitude towards work: A shift in cultural attitudes towards work and desire for a better work-life balance contribute to the growth of the gig economy. Social and cultural attitudes towards gig work also play a role in its impact. Some people view gig work as a positive alternative to traditional employment, while others see it as a sign of a declining job market and erosion of worker protections.

5) Cost saving: Companies can save money by hiring gig workers as needed rather than incurring the cost of hiring and training full-time employees.

Gig Economy: Benefits 

  • Independence- Gig workers don't have to be stuck in an office - they can work from anywhere, like at home writing articles or even from their car while driving for Uber.
  • Flexibility- Gig workers can work whenever they want. Usually, they'll get a task with a deadline, but they can do it whenever they want.
  • Income- People are drawn to the gig economy because of the flexibility to earn extra income. 
  • Increased earned potential - Gig workers have the opportunity to take on multiple projects or jobs at once, potentially increasing their overall income. 
  • Diversification of skills - By working on a variety of projects and jobs, gig workers have the opportunity to develop a set of skills and expertise. 
  • Opportunity to work remotely - With the rise of technology, many gig jobs can be done remotely, proving even more flexibility and independence.

Gig Economy: Drawbacks 

  • Lack of job security - Gig workers are typically not entitled to the same job security as traditional employees, making it difficult to plan for the future. 
  • No Benefits - The biggest downside is gig economy does not have any benefits like health insurance or other perks that full-time employees do. Companies also don't have to pay temp workers the minimum wage or overtime.
  • No work-life balance - If you're not used to making your own schedule, gig work can be tough. You can easily take on too many gigs and end up working too much and burning out. 
  • Inconsistent income - Finding enough work to make a steady income can be challenging with gig work.
  • Difficulty in relationships - With temporary workers coming and going, it's hard to build lasting relationships with co-workers, bosses, and clients.
  • Limited growth - When temp jobs are all that's available, it can be tough to grow and develop your career.
  • Increased stress - The pressure to find new work and constantly market oneself can be stressful for gig workers is another drawback of the gig economy. 
  • Lack of job satisfaction - Gig workers may find it difficult to deliver the same level of job satisfaction as they would in a traditional job due to the lack of stability and structure. 
  • No protection under labour law - Gig workers are often classified as independent contractors, which means they are not protected under many labour laws, such as minimum wage and overtime regulations.

Criticism of the Gig Economy

While the gig economy offers increased flexibility and opportunities for some workers, it has also come under criticism for various reasons. One major criticism of the gig economy is that it often works with limited and few benefits. Because gig economy jobs are often done on a freelance basis, workers do not have the same protections and benefits as traditional employees, such as guaranteed minimum wage, sick leave, and health insurance. This causes difficulty for gig workers to make ends meet, especially in areas with a high cost of living.  

Another criticism of the gig economy is that it can contribute to income inequality. Many gig jobs are low-paying and do not provide a living wage, leading to increased poverty and financial insecurity among gig workers. Additionally, because gig work is often done through online platforms, it can be difficult for workers to unionise or negotiate better pay and benefits.

Critics also argue that the gig economy contributes to the decline of traditional jobs and the erosion of workers' protections. As more ad more companies shift towards gig work, it can be difficult for workers to find stable, well-paying jobs with benefits. 

Finally, some argue that the gig economy is having a negative impact on local communities and the environment. For example, the rise of Airbnb has led to increased rent prices in many cities, making it harder for residents to afford to live there. Additionally, the gig economy often relies on individuals driving their cars, which can lead to increased traffic congestion and air pollution.

So, is the Gig Economy worth it?

Well, for those actually working in the Gig economy, it is working out. According to research, a solid 79% of gig workers say they're happier now compared to when they had a traditional 9-to-5. More flexibility, control over their schedule, and the opportunity to earn extra cash are just a few of the reasons why they prefer gig work. Of course, it's not all sunshine and rainbows, and some folks miss the stability and benefits of a traditional job. But, for those who value independence and the ability to make their own rules, gig work seems to be worth it.

The gig economy has rapidly become a prevalent aspect of the modern workforce, offering individuals greater flexibility and career independence. With its on-demand nature, the gig economy provides opportunities for people to earn income, pursue their passions, and manage their work-life balance. However, it also brings challenges, such as job security and benefits, which are typically associated with traditional employment. Despite these challenges, the gig economy continues to grow and evolve, offering a dynamic and exciting new landscape for work. Whether you're a seasoned gig worker or just starting out, it's an exciting time to be a part of this rapidly changing world of work.