What’s the gig financial system and what’s a gig employee?
As more people look online to make a living, the gig economy continues to grow. If you are looking for work or just a little extra income, so-called “gigs” are worth considering.
Doing small tasks for cash is often much easier than finding traditional employment. Depending on your skills, it also has the potential to be more profitable.
This article explains exactly what the gig economy is, what type of work is available, and where to find it.
What is the gig economy?
The gig economy is a global market in which companies and independent contractors interact and ultimately trade the performance of tasks for money.
In contrast to the traditional labor market, contracts are only short-term. So-called “gigs” can last between five minutes and a year.
The gig economy enables companies to hire employees to complete one-off tasks without hiring a traditional employee. It allows contractors to take on these tasks without agreeing to work for a set period of time.
It’s popular because it offers a much more flexible alternative to traditional (long-term) employment agreements. But it is also often criticized because gig workers do not receive traditional benefits.
What is a gig worker?
A gig worker is anyone who takes on a job for financial reward without having a traditional employment contract. It is an umbrella term that is widely used to refer to both temporary workers and freelancers.
The term gig worker can apply to anyone from the electrician who works at your home to the delivery driver who delivers your food.
The pros and cons of gig work
Gig work definitely has advantages over traditional employment, but it’s certainly not for everyone. Here are some of its pros and cons.
Pros: Easier to find
The most obvious advantage of gig work is that it’s easy to find. Companies are much more willing to take risks for someone for individual tasks than for a full-time position. Gig work can therefore be very useful for those looking to enter a new industry.
Pro: more flexible
Gig work is very flexible. Basically, provided there is sufficient demand for your skills, you can create your own schedule. You decide when you work, who you work for and what exactly you do.
Pro: Greater variety
Gig Work also offers constant opportunities for change. No fixed contract means that you can change “jobs” at any time. You can choose short-term gigs that allow you to acquire new skills, or even those that you just find interesting.
While gig work is more flexible, it’s also a lot less predictable. You may find that you have a lot of work one month and barely enough to survive the next. If you don’t have a significant financial cushion, it can make gig work unsustainable.
Con: Possibly bad hours
In theory, gig workers can choose their own hours. However, this only happens when there is strong demand for your skills. If not, you may have no choice but to take what you can get. Skipping nine through five sounds like a great idea until you find that it’s being replaced by having to work every weekend.
Con: No advantages
Most gig workers don’t get any benefits. This means that if you decide you don’t want a traditional employment contract, things like health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation pay will go away.
Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons the gig economy has gotten so big. Many employers prefer to hire gig workers because they end up being cheaper.
Which industries offer gig work?
As the gig economy expands, so does the number of industries in which gig work can be found.
Ultimately, however, gig work is most common in industries where there is a high demand for one-off tasks that can be completed in a short amount of time and that contribute to high employee turnover.
- Transport: Transport is arguably the best-known example of gig work. Both passengers and on-demand employees for the delivery of groceries fall directly into the gig economy.
- Computing / IT: Many companies are looking for gig workers to handle everything from software development to website design.
- Construction: The short-term nature of most construction projects makes it a natural choice for gig workers.
- Media: Authors, photographers and video editors are often hired on short notice. Similar to IT work, these gig workers often work remotely.
- Art: When an artist makes money, he often does so as a gig worker. This category includes everything from musicians to painters.
Where can I find gig work?
If you’re interested in gig work, most of the options can be found online.
Millions of freelancers around the world use Upwork. It is designed for remote work only. It is possible to find work that is paid hourly or as a fixed price per completed task. Unfortunately, due to its popularity, it is very competitive.
Fiverr is famous for five dollar services, but many contractors charge multiples of that. The most popular services are usually available in the media, but just about any strange skill can be monetized.
FlexJobs is one of the world’s largest work-from-home platforms. You can use it to find gig work as well as full time jobs. All the work is remote and there are over 50 different categories.
NextDoor can help you find gigs in your area. This is best for personal services. This includes everything from childcare to waste disposal.
Craigslist has a special section for side appearances only. You can use craiglist to find both remote work and in-person appearances. However, as always, Craigslist users need to watch out for scams.
It is important to note that while most types of gig work are advertised online, many can be found simply by looking at your local classifieds and through traditional networks.
Is Gig Work Right For You?
If you’re looking to make more money, the gig economy is certainly a viable option. As a gig worker, you have access to both options and a level of flexibility that is simply not found in traditional employment.
At the same time, however, it is important to understand that this type of employment comes with a cost. Gig work may be easy to find, but making a living is not always easy.
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About the author
(5 articles published)
Elliot is a freelance tech writer. He mainly writes about fintech and cybersecurity.
More from Elliot Nesbo
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