What is the Gig Economy?
Currently, there is no official definition of the “gig economy” but can best be described as an engagement to complete a single task or project more or less to “work on-demand”. According to the Pew Research Center on Internet and Technology, more than one-third of the U.S. workforce is officially part of the freelance gig economy and 24% of Americans have reported earning money from the digital ‘platform economy’ (think Lyft, Uber, AirBnB) in the past year and 54% of older adults said that they no longer want to work full time.
Some interesting stats from SmallBizTrends.com:
- More than one-third of Millennials (the largest demographic age group in the workforce since 2015) are independent workers.
- Nearly 3-in-10 American workers earn some form of income through independent work and gig opportunities like Uber and Airbnb.
- 63% of those interviewed in the report say marketing is the most important expense to grow their business.
While the concept of a short-term job is not new the method of which people are finding employment is. Companies are connecting these workers with “employers” through websites and apps.
Examples of Websites/Apps for the “Gig” Economy
- Amazon Flex is an app that gives people ages 21 and older the opportunity to set their own schedule jobs range from $18 – $25 an hour.
- CrowdFlower is an app for data scientists as well as mathematicians and statisticians, to psychologists, entrepreneurs, and information systems engineers who want to complete simple tasks from their own home.
- Fancy Hands‘ mission is to provide assistants for everyone. As an assistant and accept tasks on your own schedule and get paid per task based on the difficultly, time of day, and how long it takes to complete.
- Freelancer.com is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace with more than 25 million users.
- Instawork is an on-demand staffing app for gig workers and hospitality businesses. Instawork will handle the insurance, billing, and payments.
- Rentah makes it easy for you to rent out your belongings and services to earn money. You choose what to rent and for how much according to your schedule.
- Snagajob is for full-time or part-time security, restaurant, customer service, retail, administrative, and seasonal jobs in your area.
- SpareHire is for on-demand finance and consulting work. You need at least two years of professional work experience in investment banking, management consulting, private equity, venture capital, or corporate development.
- Wonolo is an-demand staffing platform that allows job seekers work on their own terms. From same-day hourly jobs to longer engagements.
The Future of the Gig Economy
In early Sept 2019, the California legislature passed AB5 a gig-work bill, which could turn contractors into employees that have sparked a heated debate. The bill was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2019 and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
- Companies such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash work with “contractors” who act a lot like employees—they perform those companies’ core business functions since they are the drivers and delivery workers.
- Who supported the bill: …gig workers, unions, and legislators who see tech companies’ big talk about disruption and innovation as a way to underpay people for their labor.
- Who’s against: Uber and Lyft claim that contracting gives workers flexibility, and labeling them employees could result in higher costs and kill their businesses.