The rise of the gig economy

When most people hear the expression “working gigs”, they usually think about musicians or artists. But in reality one-time projects are a source of income for many people of different professions, different backgrounds and with different levels of income.
The digital revolution is partially responsible for the recent boom of peer-to-peer exchange. Many of the popular on-demand services, such as Uber or Unolabo, rely on gadgets, that enable location, and social connectiors Facebook and LinkedIn make it easier to trust semi-anonymous peers.

Gig economy is not a new thing, but only in recent years it has become truly mainstream. More and more people are working from project to project, but earlier there was a prejudice that they are uneducated people earning low wages who just don’t know what to do with their lives. Turns out, many of such people are well-educated specialists, who willingly chose this kind of employment. According to the data, provided by The Freelancers Union, about one-third of Americans (that is 53.7 mln people!) do some freelance work, this is 700 thousand more than a year earlier.

Of course, gig work is not for everyone, but even when it is combined with a “normal” full-time job it is a great source of additional income. In other instances, it is one of the only options for those who unable to find a full-time position: students, new mothers, foreigners, etc. Almost anyone can rent their apartment on Airbnb, sell unique hand-made accessories on Etsy or be an Uber driver.

People who have been excluded from certain full-time occupations because of the government regulations, such as minimum wage requirements, can now be hired online. Besides, these freelancers get a change to get skills and experience, that will help them advance their careers.

It is easy to combine gig work with your personal life — you can drive your children to school and turn inro an Uber driver on your way back. But it is both an advantage and a disadvantage: the lines between professional and personal become blurred, and it might feel like you never have a day off.

Nevertheless, more and more people are turning to part-time work to take advantages of all the perks of the new kind of economy. “As the gig economy continues to grow in size and popularity, the way we work will continue to fracture. Freelance opportunities will multiply as Millennials – who aren’t wedded to the notion of a single source of income – enter the job market,” David Hale, CEO of Gigwalk, told eWEEK in an interview.