How to Work in the Gig Economy?


The gig economy is here. We have moved from a time when people worked for the same employer for almost all their lives, to a time when job change happens as frequently as once every two years. Not just that, now people are taking up jobs for as short a period as a project lasts.

People are also taking up freelance jobs, instead of full-time employment. Not just employees, even employers are preferring freelancers for many of the tasks. Entire HR department is being outsourced. UX experts are hired for a short period. There are hundreds of such examples.

Self-employment gives the freedom of working at your own time and at your own convenience. How much ever an employer tries to give freedom to employees, the kind that freelancing gives you is not comparable.

But not all people freelancing do it by choice. Some are forced to take it up with the entire economy changing to gig economy. Gig economy is a way of organization where companies work with freelancers to build products or deliver services. Older people who are becoming obsolete in the new way businesses are opting for freelancing as the last resort.

One can say all this has resulted in the gig economy or because of the gig economy people are opting freelancing. Freelancers do not get the benefits of  full-time employment. It has its own drawbacks. Freelancers are hired for project-duration only. Earlier only actors, musicians, film production workers, and seasonal farm hands were migrating from gig to gig, but now the trend has expanded into many other areas especially within the tech industry.

In a survey conducted by The Mckinsey Global Institute, out of 8,000 individuals in the United States and Europe who were surveyed about 20-30 percent of workers were engaged in “some form of independent work”.

Common Occupations for Freelance Employment

According to Upwork, an online network linking freelancers to employers, popular freelance occupations include:

  • Designers and creatives
  • Web, mobile and software developers
  • Administrative support specialists
  • Writers and translators
  • Accounting/finance/consulting professionals
  • IT and networking professionals
  • Sales/marketing/customer service professionals
  • Lawyers/paralegals
  • Engineers and architects
  • Data science/analytics specialists

Careercast lists some more:

  • Home health aides
  • Occupational therapists
  • Delivery drivers

Individuals 65-years-old and older are the most common people opting for freelancing.

The survey conducted by Mckinsey Global Institute also indicated that 70% of self-employed workers had freely chosen to freelance, either as a primary or supplemental source of income. The remaining 30% chose it out of no option. Either because their skills were best suited for freelancing or they were financially strapped.

This was to throw light on the gig economy. If you have had any experience of the gig economy, or have something to add, then write in the comments below. We may include those points in subsequent articles on gig economy.