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?
In layman's terms, the gig economy is also known as the freelance economy. It is where you work as a part-timer or a freelancer on a contractual basis. It is a labour market that has gained prominence in recent years. The shift towards this work arrangement is driven by technological advancements 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. Check out this blog to know how you can start freelancing as a student.
Understanding Gig Economy
In this 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.
- Graphic designers
- Administrative assistant
- Content writers
- Network analyst
- Project or office manager jobs
Factors of 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 gig jobs 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 this 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 part-time jobs 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 it as a means of earning a living.
3) Flexibility: Part-time jobs provide 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 this economy. Social and cultural attitudes also play a role in its impact. Some people view it 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.
Benefits of Gig Economy
- 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- One of the advantages of gig economy is that the 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 this 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.
Problems of Gig Economy
- 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 that this 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.
- Difficulty in relationships - With temporary workers coming and going, it's hard to build lasting relationships with coworkers, 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, which is another drawback.
- 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.
Check out this article to understand how you can start finding freelancing gigs in 2023.
Who is a Part of Gig Economy?
Students and people who are looking for part-time jobs and who are paid on a contractual basis are a part of it. Project-based employees, who are paid according to the project, temporary employees, hired for a certain period of time; and part-time employees, who work fewer hours than full-time employees, are all also part of this economy. Customers have an alternative to commercial goods and sectors thanks to the gig economy.
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.
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, it 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.