Task-related labor has progressed towards a vital aspect in today’s economy. This paradigm shift began when the phrase “gig economy” caught on during the peak of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. However, the idea of producing an income from short-term work is hardly a new concept.
The gig economy encompasses those who work as independent contractors on a full-time basis (such as consultants), as well as individuals who have side gigs, perhaps driving an Uber in their spare time. These people might own a small business, or they might work freelance jobs on an as-needed basis for other companies. Tradesman, truck drivers, writers, photographers, and musicians are some of the more popular roles for a gig worker.
When the financial crisis mentioned above took place, the gig economy began to hold more weight. With most of the country’s population either underemployed or out of work, people began to find ways to earn a living through temporary work and part-time positions. However, if undertaken, such gigs had to give these workers some leeway. Income had to be shored whether the worker worked full or part-time. Alternatively, many workers put together a stream of income by working several positions simultaneously. For such people, having flexibility with their schedules was of utmost importance. Most of these people were drawn to rideshare gigs, such as a Lyft or Uber driver.
Ten years later, there are more gig workers than ever before. 150 million workers in Western Europe and North America reported their income sources earned from independent contractor positions.
Gigs encompass the full pay scale spectrum, including senior executives who travel from city to city as part of their jobs, as well as workers who earn extra revenue as a rideshare driver in their neighborhood. The two main segments are gigs that are service-based (including delivery drivers and tradesmen), and knowledge-based (including machine-learning data scientists or independent management consultants). A large part of the economy is stimulated by technology development that the sharing industry runs on (such as the software that operates Airbnb, Bird, Lyft, etc.).
It is important to consider that gigs place more responsibility on the worker, rather than a company. This differs from the dependable business-hour standard that workers obtained in the middle of the 20th century. Traditional working hours are more adaptable in today’s era as a result of budget cuts, outsourcing jobs overseas, and salary-pruning, all of which impacted economic security for most people. As such, it is more important than ever to develop one’s individual brand without a 9 to 5 position to earn from.
This is a unique and surreal backdrop to the existing gig economy: gig workers don’t have a company superior to answer to. Software apps replace humans as the “master” to serve in various industries like errand services, delivery services, ridesharing, and the like. Further, the market is prospering from these revenue streams, but =becoming more complicated in the process. This is triggered by what is known as a “shut-in economy.”