Learn about the gig economy and the likely future of work
The phrase "gig economy" refers to the growing dependency on freelancers and workers who operate on a "per gig" basis rather than being employed by a specific company. This is a trend that has been getting momentum, thanks in part to modern technology that allows for quick and safe transactions even across long distances.
With the gig economy's rapid growth, it's inevitable that more of us will soon be working in this way. In reality, many of us may be forced to make a decision in the near future, especially in the context of Covid.
Learning how the gig economy works is the greatest thing we can do, and being prepared is the best thing we can do!
What is the gig economy?
It's understandable if you're skeptical. Continue reading, and I'll try to change your mind.
You've probably come across members of the gig economy. They have the same appearance as the rest of us. For example, if you've ever used an Uber or a Bolt (Taxify), you've experienced the gig economy! Uber and Bolt enable drivers to earn money by accepting customers via an app and being paid for each ride. They are paid on a per-gig basis rather than a fixed salary. The same is true for online freelancers and even your neighbor who cuts your hair.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
The gig economy can be compared to zero-hours contracts in the worst-case scenario. There is a significant risk that freelancers may end up working for a single company with all of the benefits that come with it, except for the stability and rights that come with a full-time job.
There's also no obligation to work with a third party. Someone who cuts hair is technically a part of the gig economy, as previously stated.
When done correctly, the gig economy can also be quite liberating for professionals. This is especially true when it comes to professional work done online. You can now choose which jobs you want to do to fit your work schedule around your lifestyle.
Assume you're a data analyst, copywriter, developer, or information security expert. In the gig economy, working online would involve taking up freelancing projects with one or more employers and getting paid for each one.
This would allow you to work from home, choose the kinds of work that would benefit your career (or simply appeal to you), and determine your own schedule.
Why is working online absolutely inevitable?
So, what is it about the gig economy that makes it inevitable?
Consider the perspective of an IT company in need of a web designer or a full stack developer.
This company has two options: employ local workers or utilize a platform like UpWork or Fiverr to hire a competent individual on a per-job basis.
In the first case, the firm must go through the time-consuming and costly process of interviewing and training a new employee. It must give office space, sick leave, and health insurance. At the same time, the "pool" of local talent from which it may pick is strictly limited. This is especially true if a specific type of competent professional, such as a machine learning researcher, is required.
How many people do you believe are looking for jobs within a 50-mile radius of your current location?
In the latter, a business just pays for the labor it needs, and it may choose from a large group of candidates to select someone with the right skill set and expertise.
This is where the decision comes down to:
- Someone who isn't the best match for the position and will cost a lot of money and time.
- Someone who is perfectly qualified for the position and has no strings attached.
Working with a distributed workforce is now not only possible, but also ideal, thanks to remote collaboration tools, project management systems, and remote collaboration.
We do precisely that at Jobs Tanzania: we have team members all around the country participating in our initiatives and discussing ideas and strategies. Countless tech startups do the same thing.
Is it possible that companies will continue to hire through traditional channels? How long before the typical office becomes redundant?
Those who fail to adapt will almost certainly be left behind.
While the concept of an army of online freelancers has been on the horizon for some time, recent global events are likely to speed the process up.
Hundreds of millions of people throughout the world are now compelled to work from home. Companies have had to react rapidly in order to put in place the required security and collaboration technologies. Employees have also set up home offices, become used to not having to go to work every day, and eventually learned how to work quickly and efficiently without a manager hovering over them.
It's no surprise that I'm hearing a lot of "not going back" whispers from my employed friends.
But here's the thing: now that companies are used to not having their workers in the office, how long will it be before they learn they can hire from different parts of the world? Or not to hire at all?
What does the gig economy mean for you?
Does that make you feel uncomfortable? It doesn't have to be that way!
Not only do companies have a strong opportunity to transition to this new gig economy model; the rest of us may gain as well. Sure, there's less job security, but there's also no income limitation, and you'll get to keep a bigger piece of the pie.
Working remotely and on a per-gig basis, on the other hand, allows you to work around your ideal lifestyle. Consider how much time you waste every day getting to and from work. Many people might save hundreds of hours on travel each year even if they worked the same hours.
You'll be able to take days off whenever it's appropriate for you, and you'll be able to manage your working hours as desired. Monday through Thursday, you might work an extra two hours and have Friday off. This is referred to as "lifestyle design," which is arranging your work around your life rather than vice versa.
Keep an eye on Kidigitali.com for more information on how to accomplish this and how to prepare for the exciting new future! We'll look at how to make the most of the new gig economy, as well as how to prepare for jobs that will be in great demand in the future decades.