I see the term “gig economy” everywhere. I want to make some money when I leave my full-time job and it occurs to me that I could use some clarification: exactly what is the gig economy? Is it different from the sharing economy (like Airbnb) or are those terms used interchangeably? I’m just trying to sort out if part-time, short-term types of work are automatically considered to be gig jobs or if self-employment (running my own small business, let’s say) and freelance work are also part of the gig economy. I want to get this right while planning my next move!
Thanks in advance for the help,
Thanks so much for writing in. We have had a lot of interest in the gig economy among our Members. First things first, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is no official definition of the gig economy — and they are in the business of keeping tabs on trends in the labor market!
But here’s what we do know: gig workers often seek out the type of work that is task-related. It helps to consider the so-called platform economy, where you pursue freelancing through an app to find a gig. Others believe this new labor force trend is the future of work. People seeking these kinds of work arrangements tend to call themselves independent contractors, freelancers, independent workers, contract workers or temporary workers.
You mentioned the sharing economy, and we’ve researched that for our Members as well. In a nutshell, the sharing economy is more about using an asset that you own but are not currently using to make money, whereas the gig economy is centered upon you earning money for your work.
So what might working in the gig economy look like? To begin with, contrary to what some media has you believe, it isn’t just for Millennials! Boomers and Gen Xers are quite active in the gig economy. Many of our Members have tried driving for Uber or Lyft, connecting with apps like Taskrabbit or working seasonally or in temporary jobs for companies like Amazon.
There are plenty of ways to work in the freelance economy, from minimum wage gigs to highly paid freelance work. There are some downsides in exchange for the flexibility. Full-time employees in traditional jobs are accustomed to job security and health insurance, for example, and those are typically not part of the gig equation.
We hope this answers your questions!
All the best,
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