What is the “Gig” Economy and is it right for me?
Freelancing has been around for decades. Workers taking short term, temporary work contracts vs. full time employment. But, in recent years the number of independent contractors has sky rocketed! Whether attributed to our unpredictable business climate or generational trends (Milennials place a higher value on flexibility rather than a salary), it is clear that the Gig economy is here to
stay. Intuit suggests that today up to 25% of the workforce does at least some independent contractor work and that by the year 2020, 43% of the workforce will be freelancers. Now, most of think of our careers in terms of permanent positions with salaries, benefits and pathways to growth. That was the work experience of generations, after all and our expectations were the same. But times have changed. Employers are looking for efficient ways to cut costs and to quickly ramp up when market conditions change. That ramping up is not only the number of employees needed to fill the void…but the skills as well. And, they see product lives shortening, processes being outdated in the blink of any eye. Flexibility has suddenly become very important for them as well. Hiring just the skills needed, for just long enough to fulfill their needs makes a lot of sense vs, the traditional long term employment arrangement. The downside of the Gig economy are pretty obvious. No guarantee of what comes next when your part time assignment is done. You are responsible for paying your own taxes and managing your savings and finances. No benefits (paid vacation, medical insurance, etc.). That big Uncertainty hanging over your head. BUT There are benefits as well. Flexibility for one. You can accept only those “gigs” which don’t interfere with your other interests. You own your time. Not your employer. You can build your resume only by taking on those assignments which enhance your value. Making you more valuable as time goes by, without having to wait for a performance review from your employer. And, since the employer is saving money on taxes, office space, benefits…he can generally pay a higher rate to the Independent Contractor. Finally, although it may not seem like it, you actually have more job security. You don’t have to worry about your company downsizing and letting you go…You are your own company!