10 Things to Know About the Gig Economy

If you haven’t heard the term “Gig Economy” before, let me explain. The gig economy is the concept of short term jobs and projects everywhere and all the time. Technology, of course, is enabling this new gig economy and companies like UberLyft or Grub Hub are some of the familiar examples where workers can jump into work and jump out of work at their own convenience.

Here are 10 things you should know about the gig economy:

1. Pew Research suggests that “nearly 1 in 4 Americans now earn money from the digital platform economy.” Most of that work is for domestic tasks, such as housecleaning and repairs, or driving for companies such as Uber.

2. Before you think that gig economy work is just for unskilled workers — think again. Professionals like software engineers, HR managers and Accountants are also participating in the gig economy with short term assignments.

3. There doesn’t seem to be any age limits for people working in the gig economy. Your Uber or Lyft driver could be a medical student transporting paying passengers in between classes, a bank teller after hours making extra money after work or a retiree who spends the entire day driving.

4. There are 56 million freelance workers in the US gig economy, partially because US workers are increasingly craving flexibility in their schedules and work locations. These are key contributing factors driving the new gig economy.

5. There are some legal risks with the gig economy and depending on how you get paid, you may have to reconcile your taxes at the end of the year with the IRS.

6. Chances are if you are working in the gig economy, you are not getting any employment benefits like health insurance, retirement savings plan etc. from the employer. Truth be told, that’s one of the things employers love about using just-in-time labor this way.

7. Diane Mulcahy, author of Gig Economy, says that many companies will do just about anything to avoid hiring full time employees and love the idea of using gig workers with no long term commitments.

8. The workers who are most successful in the gig economy are those who know how to manage their time and their costs effectively.

9. You can find gigs that suit your skill set and lifestyle through any number of gig economy websites like BehanceFiverrFreelancerTaskRabbitGuru and LocalSolo. Job boards like Monster, CareerBuilder and TheHBCUCareerCenter.com also post short term gig jobs.

10. Although some gigs, like any other temporary job, could turn into a full time job, this is not likely. If this type of project work is preferred by employer, don’t plan on getting a full time offer.

For more information, check out this article: The truth about the gig economy.