So, what is a gig economy? It is a description for an economy attributed to the millennials generation (those born between 1982-2002), who have chosen to become freelance providers of services, and get paid by the gig of data produced, or by the hour. The millennials have embraced self-employed freelancing as a path to financial independence built upon: flexible hours, more balanced lifestyles and multiple choices.
In America alone, there are over 50 million of them hooked on this kind of flexible work. This is not a question of desperation in finding jobs in a tight market, still filled with Boomers and other generations, but the desired career path for a significant number of this large cohort.
The millennials, who are in their late twenties and early thirties, are becoming the prime recruitment targets for all types of businesses requiring freelance work. It is important to recognize their particular idiosyncrasies so that the project bidding process can be better adapted to their particular lifestyles. It is in the interest of both the company and the individual to give them every opportunity to succeed.
When dealing with the millennial generation, it is essential to take into account that they are embedded in social media and the internet. They obtain their news there, buy their products and services and exchange ideas and recommendations. With this in mind, the whole freelance bidding process incorporates various internet-related platforms to get the best possible match between skill sets and project requirements.
The internet has provided incredible opportunities to offer services to both small and large businesses. It allows for greater win-win opportunities, whereby the employers can reduce their overhead costs on permanent salaries and open themselves up to the pool of young talent, who can furnish them with fresh ideas and insights. There is no need to restrict the search for specific expertise to the local market. There is a whole world out there of talented people from near and far, who are ready to provide their unique services at a discounted rate. Because most of them work out of their home, they do not have to absorb overhead expenses and can price their services at reduced rates.
The services that can be outsourced to the gig economy include: content writing, IT solutions and website SEO, website design, programming, coding, data management and analysis, paralegal assistance, marketing, advertising, accounting and many other functions that can be performed remotely. There are many websites that connect and rate both the providers and receivers of these services. The price and specifications are all prearranged so that there are no unpleasant surprises to either party.
The bonanza of the English-speaking world – Because the English language has become the “lingua franca” of the global village, it facilitates communication. it has provided a bountiful crop of young well-educated individuals able to accept the challenges of globalization. Command of the English language allows targeting customers well beyond the local market. Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven translation has also contributed to the reduction of communication barriers. Yet, every country has its unique idiosyncrasies, often related to cultural differences. This is where elastic human knowledge can overcome the advantages of bots.
Small Businesses can hire affordable freelance talent – Instead of hiring costly permanent staff that significantly impact fixed costs, small business owners can rent their needs and pay by the hour. This is not exactly a new development, it is just that this kind of help has become less expensive due to globalization. Design work in any field can be produced in low-cost emerging countries, many of which have high academic standards. Although outsourcing has gained a somewhat tainted reputation, used strategically it can provide a valuable reduction of cost. Even local outsourcing has its benefits because the gig economy operates at a lower labor rate
Large businesses can offer more security – It is not only small businesses that are taking advantage of the gig economy. Large businesses are also jumping on the bandwagon for most of the same reasons. However, their size presents certain advantages to the freelancers because these behemoths can often provide long-term engagements or repeat business. They also have greater leeway to offer more generous hourly compensation. Because the really large companies often expand at breakneck speed, providing space for new recruits becomes problematic and costly. All this creates opportunities for freelancers.
ESG can gain from the millennial mindset – Social responsibility is connected to business ethics. The consumers in advanced countries demand a different approach to the way business is done. The exploitation of the environment at any cost is no longer tolerated. Climate change dynamics, supported by a more activist generation, will force business owners to shift to a more ethical approach. The millennials tend to be more aware of ESG (environmental, social and governance impact), and can thus provide creative input on this topic. The gig economy offers a fresh, external pool of ideas.
Low risk/ low-cost entry for the freelancers – The entry into this vast economy often requires nothing more than a reliable computer, mobile device and some talent in any field that is open to remote employment. As in any other business, there is a requirement to promote a particular talent or expertise. Fortunately, this is greatly facilitated by freelance hubs that cater to the gig pool. Signing up is normally free, and many of these hubs offer tutoring on self-promotion, networking, and improvement of skills.