The Gig Economy: A Machine or A Movement?

The gig economy has taken the world by storm. It is a new way of working that has changed the way we live and do business. Some people see it as a machine that is destined to take over the traditional workforce, while others see it as a movement that will help to empower workers around the world.

So, what is the gig economy? And more importantly, what does it mean for you? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of gig work and discuss the ways in which it is shaping the Future of Work.

What is the gig economy?

This question is asked more and more as people become familiar with the term, but there is no one clear answer. The gig economy could be described as a machine or a movement. It is a machine because it is driven by technology and it has taken over many aspects of our lives. It is a movement because it has given power back to the people and allowed them to work how and when they want to.

The gig economy is made up of independent contractors, freelancers, and temporary workers. The work is usually done online or through a mobile app and it is often short-term or project-based. This type of work has been around for centuries, however, according to Harvard Business Review, the term “gig economy” was coined by Tina Brown, the former editor of The New Yorker, in 2009. In just about 12 short years, it has completely changed the way we think about work.

One of the main reasons why the gig economy has taken off in recent years is technology. Technology has made it easier than ever to connect with people and work remotely. There are also a number of platforms that have been created to help businesses find workers for short-term or one-time projects. Additionally, massive tech companies like Uber and Instacart have popularized the gig economy while shaping it at the same time.

And what does all this mean for you?

The gig economy is impacting those looking for work just as much as those who hire. If you work in staffing or HR, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in the number of people resigning to start their own businesses or take on freelance work. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! The gig economy is giving people the flexibility and freedom to work on their own terms.

In Randstad Sourceright’s 2022 Talent Trends report, which includes the views of more than 900 human capital and C-suite leaders in 18 markets, states that “71% plan to shift more roles to contingent, project or contract to get work done — the highest percentage in the report’s history, and a 15-point increase from last year.” The report also finds that businesses are focusing more on employee experience, and that flexibility is an important factor in attracting and retaining talent.

Whether you see this as a machine or a movement, there is no denying that it has changed the way we work, but it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. There are pros and cons to gig work just as there are with all new innovations that involve life.

The pros and cons of the gig economy

The gig economy has a lot of advantages. For example, it gives people the flexibility to work when and where they want to. It also allows people to make extra money by working on their own terms. Additionally, it gives businesses access to a larger pool of talent and can help to create a more efficient workforce.

A recent NBC News article quotes the Fedex CFO on the benefits of gig workers: “The scheduling flexibility helps as well in terms of navigating labor availability when and where you need it.” Becoming a gig worker can be a great option for people who need flexibility in their work schedule, or for those who are looking for supplemental income.

However, the gig economy also has its drawbacks because gig work can be precarious. The gig economy has been criticized for its lack of job security and benefits. For instance, gig work can be unstable and unpredictable. On the legal and organizational side of the gig economy, we’ve seen a slew of lawsuits as this new way of working navigates labor rules that were established before it existed.

The pros and cons of the gig economy will continue to be debated as this new way of working evolves. However, one thing is certain: the gig economy is here to stay and it is changing the Future of Work.

Where is the gig economy in 2022?

The gig economy has come a long way in the past few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The gig economy is still growing and it is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. In a Brodmin Gig Economy Case Study, they found that the “global Gig Economy is expected to grow from $204 billion in 2018 to $455 billion in 2023”, and the “number of US freelancers is estimated to grow from 57 to 86 million by 2027.”

We have already seen some surprising things shifting the gig economy in 2022. NFTs have already had a major impact on the gig economy. Wired reports that, “two-thirds of US freelancers told Fiverr they’re servicing the NFT industry.” This is likely because the demand for creatives and professionals to help with NFT projects continues to grow. For more specific examples of the gig economy in 2022, here’s our article on the 5 Ways the Gig Economy Has Already Changed in 2022.

How it is shaping the Future of Work

The rapid rise of the gig economy proves one thing: the future workplace is a flexible workplace. The traditional nine-to-five job is no longer the only option for workers and professionals. The gig economy has given rise to a new generation of workers who are not tied to one company or one location.

The future of work is flexible, and the gig economy is leading the way.  As we continue to adapt to a world that is increasingly reliant on digital platforms, the sky’s the limit for the gig economy.

If you’re interested in learning more about the gig economy or need help managing your freelance workforce, be sure to book a demo of GreenLight. Our AI-driven worker classification platform is designed to make life easier for both freelancers and employers alike, streamlining the onboarding process, payments, billing, and compliance procedures.

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Alex Steeno

Alex Steeno

Senior industry analyst, adviser of multiple hypergrowth agencies, SaaS, and tech-enabled service platforms, Alex Steeno regularly contributes insights related to industry trends, growth marketing, and management consulting.

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