Gig Economy – Everything to Know About It

10 Jun 2021

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With the raging uncertainty that the pandemic has brought into people’s lives, more and more individuals have switched to multiple sources of income instead of relying on one. The gig economy has become an integral part of people’s side hustles in today’s date. However, what does it entail? And, what kind of jobs come under a gig economy?

What is a gig economy?

The gig economy, often known as freelancing job prospects, involves employing independent or self-employed workers on a short-term or temporary basis for varying projects. These job prospects are often remote and don’t involve full-time hours or working from a traditional office space. Most of the time, gigs are offered to independent and self-employed workers across diverse occupations, offering different degrees of earning, depending on the type of work or the project. Statistics from the American Staffing Association suggest that around 78% of Americans believe in the concept of gig work as a support for the longstanding independent workforce. The growing popularity even suggests that around one-third of Americans are already working in some gig capacity, be it full-time or part-time job prospects. With the rising demands for freelancers across various industries, the numbers are likely expected to increase in the coming days. The primary reason behind the steep growth of the gig economy is the finances associated with it. Most employers offering gigs either can’t afford to pay a full-time employer or don’t need one for the duration of their project. The gig economy propelled even more during the pandemic when the world resorted to prioritizing remote working.

How does the Gig Economy Work?

In the gig economy, the workers are hired temporarily to complete allotted or assigned tasks. It could include getting an article written for a company to getting groceries for their client. The extent of work is variable and depends on the employer's requirements and the projects in their pipeline. There are gig workers who generally work their traditional office job and then indulge in their side hustles. And, there are highly paid gig workers who do this full time without a separate job on the side. As for acquiring the jobs under gig economy, the workers are generally either approached by the company or the individual employers from an organization.

What are the Jobs Falling under Gig Economy?

Gig Economy is prevalent across all industries, be it healthcare or software development. It generally covers individuals from varying work statuses, including:

  • Freelancers
  • Temporary Worker
  • Contract Workers
  • Consultants
As for job profiles, some of the most common ones include:
  • On-call workers
  • Freelancer writers
  • Contingent or part-time workers
  • Consultants
  • Seasonal workers
  • Contractors

People working for gig economy generally compose of three distinct types of workers:

  • Full-time independent workers – working over 15 hours in gigs.
  • Part-time independent workers – working less than 15 hours in gigs.
  • Occasional independent workers – work sporadically, generally once or twice a month.

Upwork estimates suggest that by 2027, U.S will have over 86.5 million freelancers who will work in the gig economy.

What are the Benefits of Gig Economy?

The benefits of the gig economy are pretty predominant, enabling individuals to have complete control over their work and finances. Not just that, it also allows professionals to work on multiple projects from different companies, acquiring experience and credibility. It helps expose them to more opportunities and improve their skillset.

Having access to multiple employers at a time helps reduce the risks of unemployment or job insecurities.

You wouldn't believe this, but there are a few prevalent gig economies that offer workers more income than the standard wages of full-time employees.

What are the Downsides of Gig Economy?

Much like the benefits, the gig economy comes with its fair share of downsides too. Some individuals have reported that working in the gig economy has disrupted their work-life balance and daily activities and routine.

While gigs offer a lot of flexibility, it also blurs boundaries surrounding the worker's availability and personal life. Also, the biggest and likely the most alarming issue with the gig economy is the lack of work assurance. An employer having a viable project today might not have the same degree of work tomorrow. So, work uncertainty is prevalent in the gig economy.

Also, gig workers are self-employed, which means that they can't avail themselves of a full-time employee's benefits. They aren't qualified for company disbursed health insurance or benefits, which can be a leveling downside for several workers.

Additionally, working odd and multiple hours throughout a day for various gigs can cause burnout. People are often subjected to feeling tired and stressed while working for numerous gigs.

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