The gig economy has been on the rise for several years, and many reports point to a continued trend. Simply put, this describes the scenario of American workers taking on both side gigs and cobbling together a living from an array short-term work or longer-term contracted jobs.
Findings from a recent study by Adobe revealed that as many as one-third of the 1,000 U.S. office workers they polled had a second job and more than half (56%) predicted we would all have multiple jobs in the future. The annual report from Upwork and the Freelancers Union found that more people than ever are choosing to operate as freelancers, up to whopping 55 million this year, or 35% of the total U.S. workforce. In addition, as many as 81% of traditional workers they surveyed said they would “be willing to do additional work outside of [their] primary job if it was available and enabled [them] to make more money.”
Fast Company asked Faith Popcorn, CEO and founder of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, to share her thinking about why we are seeing this rise in the Gig Economy. Popcorn is a noted futurist and a best-selling author who has a proven 95% accuracy rate in her predictions. She said not to overlook the impact Millennials will have on the gig economy. The largest cohort in the workforce “inherited a bad economy, have little prospect of home ownership, and come bearing deep college debt,” Popcorn said, so “the idea of one career seems increasingly untenable.” She believes that automation and AI will only accelerate the rise of gigging (or having “side-hustles”). “Ironically, automations like self-driving cars will eliminate some jobs (i.e., driving for Uber), and give way to new forms of gigging yet undiscovered,” she says.
Popcorn added that these shifts will have the greatest impact on millennials, creating something she calls the “Living in the Blur” paradigm. “It’s a tech-enabled, nomadic existence in which there’s a constant mix of business and pleasure; where traveling for a job is no problem in a Sharing Economy; where professional and creative passions are pursued one moment, and the next, one is all but an automaton, tackling Mechanical Turk tagging projects,” she said. “These contradictions will cohabitate as we deal with the economic and industrial fallout of a quickly morphing society.”
For more about this new economy, you can check out the full FastCompany article here