noun [usually singular] informal
a way of working that is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately, rather than working for an employer.
We’ve all heard it on the news, amongst friends, and in countless articles and posts online: Gig Economy. It sounds fairly self-explanatory, however, there are many different types of workers who can fall under the umbrella of gig workers. In the broadest sense of the term, a gig worker is any worker who is paid per project and invoices their work independently. Where things become more complicated is that there is also a subset of workers who work for a service provider, however, are zero-hour workers and create their own working hours. Generally speaking, gig workers have flexible work schedules as they can choose which jobs or “gigs” to choose, and when they work on completing those gigs. Let’s dive into some of the categories where gig work is prominent and look at the differences between each one so you can see if gig work is for you and can begin your journey to success in the gig industry.
Types of Gig Workers
Freelancers exist in many industries, ranging from tech, writing, consulting, and even marketing and advertising. Freelancers are self-employed individuals who offer services to assist companies both big and small with specific projects. For example, a freelance writer may create a set of blog posts for a business to highlight their products and services while a freelance tech worker may create a website for a company and set up mobile apps to interface with clients. These projects are generally short-term, and they are paid immediately upon the completion of the project. If you are a good freelancer, the same company may continuously offer you projects and contracts, however, you are not hired by the company as an employee, only a freelance contractor. Freelancers may also bid for available gigs on websites like Fiverr or Upwork where they can see the scope of the project, the pay rate, and the business profile to make their proposition and submit their resume or portfolio for consideration.
Tutors and Educators
There has been a significant boom in this area of gig work with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and online schooling becoming a regular occurrence. Professional tutors and educators are a wealth of resources for children and adults alike. Traditionally, tutors would go into the learner’s home for an hour or set amount of time to provide lessons, however, in the digital age tutors and educators can provide learning to a much wider audience through platforms like Zoom and webcams. Tutors can arrange their schedules with much greater flexibility thanks to an open global market and gaining clients from any time zone or with availability that doesn’t fall within the typical 9-5. Like freelancers, tutors and educators may also use a 3rd party service to find or attract clients, however, they are self-employed and not being compensated by the 3rd party service, only their clients
Construction workers are perhaps the most well-known gig professionals, though not all construction workers fall under the category of gig work as some may work for a company or government entity where they work regular hours and are paid a salary. Independent contractors such as electricians, welders, site engineers, or even architects fall under the gig worker umbrella as they are paid by the project and are not guaranteed set hours of work.
Finance professionals are another common type of gig worker, and like construction workers, only applies to those who are not on payroll with a bank or corporation. Finance professionals like accountants, financial planners, brokers, and tax return specialists can provide a wide range of services on their own time and take advantage of peak seasons.
Virtual Admins and Support Professionals
Every business knows that a great admin assistant can make all the difference in the world. For small businesses, in particular, it can be challenging to find a competent and talented administrative assistant and retain them due to a lack of work or regular hours. The gig economy saw this gap and quickly filled it with Virtual Assistants. Virtual Assistants are hired to complete common administrative work like scheduling meetings, arranging travel, data entry, and even some basic payroll/accounting assistance to organise records for the accountant. The difference between a Virtual Assistant and a traditional Admin Assistant is that Virtual Assistants work remotely and may only work for a few hours per week to complete the necessary tasks and are paid for completing those tasks, rather than receiving a salary or being hard for standard hours.
Food and Hospitality
This industry is perhaps the most well-known gig employer, especially with the lockdown measures and restaurant dining closures throughout 2020 and 2021. Food delivery services like Uber Eats and Menulog, are now ubiquitous and the workers who make up the delivery workforce are gig workers. Workers have the option to accept or decline a job and can choose which restaurants, neighbourhoods, and hours they want to work around. Like food delivery, there has also been a boom in hospitality professionals including caterers, bartenders, DJs, and even maintenance workers. Some hotels and resorts have also started hiring concierge services and guest relations as gig work, allowing greater flexibility in hours and location as gig workers can often work remotely.
Finally, gig drivers make up a huge percentage of the gig economy as there are so many different types of driving that can be done. We’re all familiar with Uber and DiDi, taxi-like services where like food delivery, drivers can accept or decline riders and are paid per trip by the client, not the company, however, there are also product delivery drivers, courier service drivers, and independent rig drivers who can accept trips based on pay, trip length, and area of delivery as they wish.
There is no sign of the gig economy slowing down anytime soon, especially with the uncertainty of the global pandemic weighing heavily on many industries and workers alike. With so many options in gig work, you may find a new career path or perhaps even just a greater sense of satisfaction with your current field working as a gig worker. Like any career, there are both pros and cons to becoming a gig worker, however, with the changes we have experienced in the past 2 years gig work may be the best way for you to avoid becoming redundant in an ever-changing employment landscape. If you’re ready to leap into the gig economy, let us help you create the perfect resume and enhance your online presence through LinkedIn to get that gig of your dreams.