The workforce has changed significantly during the past 10 years since the economic recession of 2008, and the results are evident in how we work, where we work, and when we work. The Gig Economy is here; and it is more than mobile apps or service/revenue sharing opportunities such as Lyft, Uber, GrubHub, and others. The Gig Economy is also known as the “Free Agent Economy” – where employees at all levels can perform valuable work – where their talent is acquired and compensated for a specific task, project, or period of time. Free agency has been prominent in professional sports and in Hollywood for many years where projects and contracts have finite terms, timelines, and compensation before an athlete is traded to the next team or an actor signs on to their next film. Free agents now include moonlighters (2nd or 3rd jobs), independent contractors, consultants, small business owners, entrepreneurs, remote or long-distance workers, and temporary employees in virtually all occupations.
Nearly one-third of workers around the globe are currently free agents, and it is projected that 7.6 million Americans will be working as free agents by the year 2020. Additionally, a recent survey indicates that 80% of the current workforce would like to work remotely at least part time. The growing number of workers interested in having greater control over the flexibility and diversity in their work has changed how organizations hire, manage and retain their talent. Employers are now open to new ways of defining “work” beyond the traditional expectations of time, days, and locations.
So, how can you get ready for the Gig Economy? It’s all about keeping your skills up-to-date, relevant, and transferable. When a gig presents itself, your availability and talents will drive an organization’s decision whether to hire you for that opportunity. Each gig becomes an opportunity to learn, grow, achieve, and to prepare for the next one. It certainly represents a shift from the mindset of longer-term employment, but the Gig Economy can actually offer you greater autonomy in managing your career.
The “Gig Economy” is here and shows no signs of slowing down. Are you ready?