What is a Gig Economy?
In a gig economy, most of the jobs are temporary or on a project basis. It provides a platform for individuals to showcase their talent, and for companies who need to hire part-timers, freelancers, or independent contractors.
Compared to a traditional economy of full-time workers who often focus on their career development and work as long as possible for the company, gig workers could work for different companies at the same time and move on from projects to projects.
Gig workers can achieve a better work-life balance by managing their own time while businesses can lower their labor cost by not hiring permanent staff for short/mid-term projects.
As a result, the gig economy is a dual-way mechanism that is more efficient for both parties. One example is bridge.com.sg which operates as an online platform to cater to the needs of businesses and workers.
But even more so, it is becoming increasingly common for people to work remotely or from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People who do not use technological services such as the Internet may be left behind by the benefits of the gig economy. Developed countries and cities tend to have the most highly sought services and are the most entrenched in the gig economy.
What are the Jobs Available in a Gig Economy?
Most of the jobs and projects available in a gig economy are online-based whereby services can be provided across geographical boundaries.
Motion graphics and website design, social media management, software development and coding, among others are some of the services and expertise available.
Key Advantage for Employers
The key advantage for an employer is that they have a wider range of applicants to choose from as they do not have to hire someone based on their proximity.
For example, in a small country like Singapore, the talent pool may be limited and the restrictions on the influx of foreign workers due to COVID-19 severely dented hiring options. An online gig platform can resolve such an issue.
Key Advantage for Workers
Very often a worker would lament that he or she is not remunerated sufficiently working in a company. As gig workers, they can generate higher income to afford the lifestyle they want and get the rewards appropriate for the effort they put in.
It is a fair system! And the projects are result-based, meaning it offers time flexibility for the working style suitable for oneself. For example, some programmers or workers prefer to work late and wake up late because they deem that they are more efficient working at night, thus a traditional 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. job may not be suitable for them.
In a gig economy, if a worker can demonstrate experience in multiple roles and projects, it showcases their ability and wide-ranging portfolio which is beneficial for profiling. But in a traditional job, if you change jobs too often, you will be regarded as a job hopper which reflects negatively on your resume.
The paradox of thought is that if you are loyal and change jobs only once or twice in your lifetime, you have limited exposure which hampers your personal growth, while someone taking a job in a gig economy has to upgrade themselves regularly to meet the constantly evolving economy.
The Disadvantage of a Gig Economy (and How To Overcome It)
The workers in a gig economy are similar to entrepreneurs. They experience the ups and downs in the sales cycle, do not have a stable income, and have to stay competitive to seize deals.
The key difference between an average gig worker and a high achiever is whether he or she can leverage the gig economy to build a career or business for the long term. If you are chasing individual projects after projects, after a while, you can feel burned out.
A successful gig worker would build a system; he would start off as an individual worker, but as soon as he begins to establish some portfolios and good reviews, he would segregate responsibilities by assigning more people to handle projects. In this way, he can generate more revenue by leveraging on other peoples’ expertise and time.
For example, a website developer can work with other freelancers by outsourcing the content writing and graphic design portion while he focuses on client acquisition, account management, and overall supervision of the project.
In this way, he can handle more projects rather than undertake every aspect of the project himself. As his business continues to grow, he can soon engage more staff (permanent or gig workers) to tackle the expanded scope of work.
Hence, a gig economy should not be viewed as space for just freelancers and part-timers, but a platform that can elevate the social standing and career of an individual. The trick is really to create a self-management system and leverage on the ocean of resources from a gig economy.
With COVID-19 creating new waves and variants all over the world, a gig economy is slated to be a mainstay and new norm for the way we work.