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Navigating the gig economy

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: February 23, 2020

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The gig economy is rapidly growing, and as a result, it’s dramatically changing the world of work as we know it. No longer are employees expected to find a job for life, with many businesses in all different industries actively seeking out gig workers, instead of relying on full-time, permanent members of staff.

So, what exactly is the gig economy, why has the gig economy emerged, what are its pros and cons, plus what platforms are available to help get started? Read this article to find out.

What is the gig economy?

The gig economy is a labour market where independent workers, or gig workers, arrange short-term contracts rather than long-term permanent jobs. They work on various projects, or “gigs”, which can range from driving cars to providing copywriting services.

Gig workers are typically freelancers or contractors and can specialise in any industry. They can have varying levels of skills too, from admin level, through to more senior-level roles, providing interim executive solutions.

Why has the gig economy evolved?

One of the fundamental reasons for the gig economy flourishing is because of technology. Technology has made it easier than ever before for businesses to connect with experts and for contractors to work alongside companies. All that is often needed is a computer and an Internet connection. Plus, tools like Skype, Slack, DropBox and Google Drive make the gig life more feasible, enabling remote communication, collaboration and teamwork.

Businesses are also looking for more specialist skills. While it’s not possible to hire a full-time employee to fit every business need, it’s become more commonplace to create short term specialised roles which are filled by gig workers. This also helps to avoid the labour and skills shortages that businesses regularly face.

What are the pros and cons of working in the gig economy?

If you’re thinking of joining the gig economy, there are lots of benefits. However, it also comes with its challenges. Discover some of the reasons why you may want to join the gig economy and what you should keep in mind.

Pros

  • You can be your own boss
  • Gig working promises a better work-life balance
  • You can enjoy having more job flexibility, i.e. working your own hours and from home
  • You can develop your experience to get your foot in the door for a permanent position
  • Gig workers often report high job satisfaction levels

Cons

  • Workloads can increase and decrease from one month to the next
  • Pay schedules can be irregular
  • There is less job security compared to a permanent position
  • You miss out on the company culture and often work alone
  • You don’t have employed benefits like health care and pension schemes
  • You need a lot of discipline, organisation and motivation

What gig economy platforms are there?

Are you looking for gig economy jobs? You can find these in all kinds of different ways, from networking, running marketing campaigns and through job boards. However, there is also a massive range of digital platforms available, which help facilitate this kind of work. New research by the Andrews Labor Government reveals that 7% of working Australians have used a digital platform to access work, over the last 12 months.

Some of the most popular platforms that you may want to consider using include:

  • Airtasker
  • Uber
  • Freelancer
  • Uber Eats
  • Deliveroo
  • Airbnb
  • Fiverr
  • PeoplePerHour
  • TaskRabbit
  • Upwork

If you want to become a gig economy worker, you may want to develop your knowledge first. It’s also essential to continuously develop your skills, to stay at the forefront of your industry and remain competitive. This can be by reading, attending industry events and taking online courses.

Open Colleges have a selection of courses that can help you impress as a gig economy worker and secure repeat business. Courses like BSB40515 Certificate IV in Business Administration can also help to give you a more advanced understanding of business, enabling you to take the next step in your career.

 

Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabethis an experienced Freelance Social Media Consultant based in the south of England. She works with a growing number of clients all around the world, showing businesses how to use social media more effectively and helping them to get the maximum benefit from it.

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