Some say: The Gig Economy is “an economic lifeline for the middle class.”
But is it?
What we are seeing recently is a great emphasis towards gig economy both in the US and outside. Gig Economy is creating new abilities of job creation and employment for new entrants in the job market with skills or existing skilled workers looking for new, direct channels to reach potential customers in their niches with ease, speed, convenience and trust.
In the US we have already proven the efficacy of the platform through Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, Housecall and many more. Interesting to see now how non US markets and specifically developing or growth stage economies could leverage this platform in their respective countries.
The focus should be towards empowerment and access. We should be looking for niche platforms servicing specific areas of skills – craftsman, tradesman, healthcare pros, nurses, teachers, part time workers, care services and many more. These startups should be addressing the challenging side of job creation and access to skills from anywhere, anytime. We have developed internally few frameworks that could help such teams to strategize, identify product possibilities and create prototype that should be tested and bounced around in their local markets. Again, this is also going to create interest from their political leadership as it is tied to employment.
It is believed that automation and AI will only accelerate the rise of gigging. “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.” The goal will be to use Apps, Tech, GPS, Messaging and digital handshakes between the skill provider and help seeker to create, manage and fulfill work opportunities.
There is a great impact millennial will have on the gig economy. The largest cohort in the workforce “inherited a bad economy 2008-2009 crisis), have little prospect of home ownership, and come bearing deep college debt,” so “the idea of one career seems increasingly untenable.”
Disruption is easy. Spreading long-term social benefit is hard. It seems that gigging platforms are necessary to keep people in cash, but the model’s social erosions must be curbed. A study found that gig economy people were disproportionately white-collar and highly educated, an expanded study showed that those who relied on gigging to make a living were less satisfied than those who had other jobs and benefits and gigged for pocket money: another sign that the system was not helping those who most needed the work. Instead of simply driving wealth down, it seemed, the gigging model was helping divert traditional service-worker earnings into more privileged pockets.
The industry that drove America’s rise in the nineteenth century was often inhumane. The twentieth-century corrective—a corporate workplace of rules, hierarchies, collective bargaining, triplicate forms—brought its own unfairness’s. Gigging reflects the endlessly personalizable values of our own era, but its social effects, untried by time, remain uncertain.
How can the gig economy be made sustainable at last? No one knows, it’s an on-going experiment.