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What Is the Gig Economy?

Understanding the Gig Economy

In a gig economy, large numbers of people work in part-time or temporary positions or as independent contractors. The result of a gig economy is cheaper, more efficient services, such as Uber or Airbnb, for those willing to use them. People who don’t use technological services such as the Internet may be left behind by the benefits of the gig economy. Cities tend to have the most highly developed services and are the most entrenched in the gig economy.

A wide variety of positions fall into the category of a gig. The work can range from driving for Lyft or delivering food to writing code or freelance articles. Adjunct and part-time professors, for example, are contracted employees as opposed to tenure-track or tenured professors. Colleges and universities can cut costs and match professors to their academic needs by hiring more adjunct and part-time professors.

The Factors Behind a Gig Economy

America is well on its way to establishing a gig economy, and estimates show as much as a third of the working population is already in some gig capacity. Experts expect this working number to rise, as these types of positions facilitate independent contracting work, with many of them not requiring a freelancer to come into an office. Gig workers are much more likely to be part-time workers and to work from home.1

Employers also have a wider range of applicants to choose from because they don’t have to hire someone based on their proximity. Additionally, computers have developed to the point that they can either take the place of the jobs people previously had or allow people to work just as efficiently from home as they could in person.

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