Pros & Cons

of Working in the Gig Economy

Pros & Cons of Working in the Gig Economy

By: Amanda Morse

Welcome to the gig economy.

 

As of 2017, “gig workers” made up 34% of the workforce, and they’re on track to comprise a full 43% by 2020.

 

How did we get here? Not too long ago, gig work was confined to certain industries and not necessarily a lifestyle many people wanted to embrace. Today, however, that’s changed, as evidenced by the fact that one-third of the workforce subscribes to the gig economy.

 

We’ve reached a point where businesses of all kinds seek independent contractors to work on short-term projects. And not only are businesses looking to fill those types of “gig” roles, but more workers are looking for that type of arrangement too. And so here we are, with the gig economy in full swing and showing no signs of slowing down.

Is Gig Work Right for You? Pros and Cons of the Gig Economy

Clearly there’s something to gig work given its popularity among both businesses and workers. But how do you know if it’s right for you? Consider the pros and cons of working in the gig economy:

Pros of Working in the Gig Economy

  • Flexible schedule: Working as an independent contractor gives you autonomy over your schedule. Whether that means working adjusted hours or only working certain days of the week, you have a lot of say over when you work.
  • Flexible location: In addition to flexibility around when you work, gig work also provides flexibility around where you work. In many cases, the contract positions you take on will allow you to work remotely. However, even when that’s not the case, because these positions are short-term, you can move around from one location to the next.
  • Variety of work: Going into the same office to see the same people and do the same job every day can get repetitive. The gig economy eliminates this repetition, providing variety in terms of the projects you work on, the industries in which you work, the people with whom you work and so on.
  • Subject matter expertise: If you take on a series of projects that allow you to solve similar problems for a variety of different companies, you’ll end up with a very unique, well-rounded and informed perspective on why those problems occur and how to solve them. As a result, the gig economy provides an opportunity to establish true subject matter expertise in an area that interests you.
  • Learning opportunities: Not sure what type of job is the best fit for you? Taking on different types of roles for shorter periods of time allows you to learn new skills and see what suits you best. Even if you do know what you want to do, the learning opportunities that come with the gig economy can be extremely useful to acquiring new skills.
  • Project choice: In the gig economy, the days of getting assigned to a project that makes you dread going into work every day are over. As an independent contractor, you get the opportunity to choose the projects on which you work and even the people with whom you work.
  • Expanded network: Knowing the right people can make a big difference in all facets of life, and that makes networking critical for success in business and beyond. The gig economy makes it easy to expand your network by providing opportunities to build relationships with more people across more companies than you would working at the same company for years at a time.
  • Try before you buy: If you’re looking for a full-time position but don’t want to jump all in only to find out a few months later that you made the wrong choice, the gig economy can help. Specifically, if it’s a good match between you and the company, there’s the potential that gig work can turn into a full-time role, giving both you and your employer the chance to “try before you buy.”

Cons of Working in the Gig Economy

  • Always thinking about what’s next: When your job only lasts a few weeks or even a few months, you always need to think about what your next project will be -- and that can definitely be a stressful situation. However, developing a relationship with a strong recruiting firm that helps with placements can alleviate some of this pressure.
  • No paid holidays/time off: Full-time jobs come with paid company holidays as well as a set number of paid vacation and sick days, however the same can’t be said for contract positions. While you can still take time off between gigs, this time does not come with a paycheck.
  • More difficult to connect to the workplace culture: An important part of any job is connecting to the workplace culture and establishing relationships with your coworkers. This becomes more difficult to do when you’re moving around between companies and working remotely. That said, making such a cultural connection is possible, you simply have to make more of an effort. You can also connect with other gig workers through local meetups, which can be extremely helpful in mitigating this downside of the gig economy.

 

The bottom line? Working in the gig economy has its pros and cons, but for most people the pros far outweigh the cons. At a time when work-life balance has become extremely important, getting to choose the time, place and types of projects on which you work and having a variety of experiences throughout the year can prove extremely appealing and fruitful for your career.