The Gig Economy — Is it Growing?
Moving into a new apartment and don’t know where to start to hang a picture frame? Don’t know anyone who can help? Don’t even have the tools to get the job done?
The gig economy can address all of it.
The gig economy – also known as the sharing economy, the platform economy, and the on-demand economy, among countless other names – is an environment comprised of temporary, short-term, or contract positions instead of traditional full-time permanent jobs.
Oftentimes, apps offer the platform for those looking to find or provide a service. Taskrabbit markets itself as a way to connect freelance labor with local demand for everything from “major cleaning to minor repairs”; Postmates focuses on delivery; Thumbtack is geared towards professional projects; and Uber and Lyft target the taxi and rideshare economy. You could use Postmates to deliver the tools to your home or call an Uber or Lyft to bring you to the store. Even simpler, you could use TaskRabbit to find someone with his own tools and to hang the frame for you.
Many believe that the gig economy is a natural outgrowth of millennial culture. It allows flexibility in ways traditional employment cannot, and takes control from large companies and hands it over to individuals. It allows them the ability to choose the labor they want and put the money into the pockets of their peers. Some have even referred to it as “democratizing capitalism,” an ideal that perhaps resonates loudly with millennials.
Despite some lingering questions as to its sustainability, studies have shown that the gig economy is growing.
Combined research from Intuit and Emergent Research found that by 2021, 9.2 million Americans are expected to work in the gig economy. This number is 3.8 million higher than its prediction based off of last year’s data. Currently, the entire information sector is comprised of more gig workers than permanent workers, and other industry trends show that a similar shift may be in the works. It would not be surprising, given its innovative benefits that target some of the major pain points of traditional full-time employment.
*Angela Yu is a New Jersey and New York attorney with a multifaceted practice area focusing in corporate, real estate and general contract law. Ms. Yu is a published legal author and holds a J.D. and M.B.A. from Rutgers School of Law and Rutgers Business School.
*Angela Yu does not provide legal advice on this website. This blog post and any blog posts authored by Angela Yu do not constitute legal advice.