Have you considered taking on a side gig or freelancing? According to a survey by the Freelancers Union and Upwork, 50% of Americans could be freelancers by the year 2027. 

Gig work used to be a concept that applied to a small portion of the population, but that’s not the case anymore.

If you’re new to the world of the gig economy, here’s a quick primer on what you need to know about the way it’s changing the way we work.

What Is the Gig Economy?

In recent years you’ve probably heard more about the gig economy and even participated in it more than you’ve realized. Have you ordered from a food delivery service lately? Hailed a ride from ridesharing service?

Then you already know about the gig economy.

The major components involve individual workers who are paid for a particular job, or gig, on a flexible, temporary, or even freelance basis. Gig jobs are often available and found through gig platforms.

Think about platforms like AirBnb or Lyft for example. Gig workers in these instances provide a service on their own schedules and interact with clients directly through an online or web platform.

Benefits of the Gig Economy

Gig economy benefits include flexibility, both for the employer and employees. Since a gig worker can be located anywhere and often works remotely or digitally, there’s a bigger applicant pool. Plus, employers can avoid paying full-time employees during busier times and hire a freelancer on a contract basis.

People who perform gig work benefit from the freedom to relocate if they want and take on projects and jobs as they please. This is appealing to people who change careers, which looks to be the going trend. Research shows that millennials will change jobs four times before they’re 32.

Types and Challenges of Gig Work

Gig culture revolves around the idea of a fluid workplace and work-life dynamic. This means that the lines are blurred when it comes to a typical work day or work schedule, which can make balancing personal and professional responsibilities tough.

Unlike full-time work, gig work comes in many forms and can be unpredictable. Gig workers may have shift gigs during specified hours or they may simply do the work whenever they can get it.

Whatever the form, there’s usually a task or short-term service involved, like food or cannabis deliveries, and a window of time to complete it. Since there’s also often a near-constant search for the next assignment, gig work can come with the odd mix of freedom and stress.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016, 24% of Americans earned income through the gig economy. And in the recent year, it’s estimated that 60 million people are now a part of it.

As individuals have caught on to the trend, so have companies. Here are a few ways that the job market and organizations are changing.

  • More companies are offering remote work flexibility
  • People are more focused on working toward a more fulfilling career or career change while doing gig work
  • Freelancers are becoming a larger part of the way companies complete work

Stay Tuned

Interested in learning more about the way gig work is changing business, finance, and the job market? Keep checking our site for the latest on side gigs and career-related articles.

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