Gig economy, is it for you? - Liberty College Nepal
 Ramesh Maharjan | BBA 5th Semester

Can you work for a company for more than 10/15 years or can you give your entire life for one company? Few decades ago the answer would be mostly yes. People wanted stable jobs, stable income and a sustainable career path. Even today, the requirements are alike but there are some other factors that we’re starting to value alongside aforementioned factors such as freedom, flexibility, passion work-life balance and sense of control which have given rise to gig economy.

Gig economy is a labor market characterized by short term freelance or project based jobs rather than traditional full-time jobs. Here, resources and labor are transferred temporarily through digital platforms (as contractors or freelancers). Its perfect examples are the one-time, short-term contract jobs that people find and access through online platforms. These jobs are exchanged for money with no other perks or obligations.

Fun facts: The term gig in ‘Gig Economy’ finds its roots in jazz music. Jazz musicians used this terms to refer to their individual performance.

The popularity of the gig economy has significantly increased over the past few decades due to new technologies, changing lifestyles, and shifting work cultures. Approximately 1.6 million people worldwide rely on the gig economy for their income. According to studies, 79% of people who work in the gig economy are happier than they were when they had regular jobs since they are no longer constrained by corporate rules and can select tasks that best utilize their skills and represent their genuine interests. They claim to experience a sense of ownership over their work and life as professionals. The growth of the gig economy is a reflection of how values in contemporary society have shifted toward work-life balance, flexibility, freedom, pursuing passions, and feeling in control.

Similar to this, many businesses nowadays are beginning to favor the gig economy since they can access talents and skilled professionals who are well versed in a particular field without the need to maintain expensive workspace, employee benefit packages, retirement plans, paid sick leave, and other benefits. They can find labor forces that precisely match their job requirements, which can also be cost-effective. The nature of work is evolving due to the gig economy. The distinction between work and personal life is starting to disappear. It is presenting new options to make money (or make extra money), particularly for individuals who might struggle to find conventional employment.

Is the gig economy a good fit for everyone? is the true question at hand now. It may not be the greatest choice for everyone, despite the fact that it has a lot to offer. Whether the gig economy is a good fit for you will be discussed in this article. Let’s start by talking about the benefits.

Flexibility: In this demanding and fast-paced world we live in, who wouldn't desire a flexible work schedule that allows them to work at their own pace and select tasks they are interested in? You can do it in the gig economy. Gig workers have a variety of tasks to select from and are free to set their own hours.

Independence: Unlike traditional employees, gig workers have considerable control over their schedules, they may pick and choose which projects to accept, can directly negotiate their terms, can establish their own regulations, and can exercise a degree of autonomy that may not be achievable in a typical employment setting.

Higher pay: Because they may have highly specialized skills that are in high demand, gig workers sometimes have strong negotiating power to set their own rates and engage in direct discussions with clients. Additionally, they have the freedom to accept multiple gigs simultaneously, which increases their income. They may also receive bonuses and other incentives for doing a job promptly or to better standards.

Diversified work experience: Gig workers can acquire a wide range of knowledge and abilities that enable them to work on a variety of projects for various clients. This can improve their marketability to future clients and help end the boring work schedule that many traditional workers frequently lament.

Work-life balance: Gig workers have more flexibility over the type and quantity of work they accept, giving them the opportunity to strike a balance between their personal and professional lives avoiding burnouts. They can decide whether to work more when necessary and decide to take breaks when they need to refuel.

Increased creativity: The independence and adaptability that gig jobs provide, frequently results in an increase in originality and creativity. Without the constraints of traditional employment, gig workers are free to approach projects in their own special ways.

Potential for extra income: Even those who hold full-time jobs occasionally resort to gig labor as a side hustle to supplement their primary source of income or to pursue a passion that pays passive money. They can get a base pay and other benefits from a full-time job while earning additional money through side jobs. This might serve as a safety net and extra measure of security for people.

Gig jobs and the gig economy seem too good to be true with all these benefits. It's possible that you have already made the decision to pursue gig employment, but before you do, brace yourself because there are some noteworthy disadvantages that we have not yet taken into account.

Lack of job security: The major catch about gig economy is, it can’t offer job security as the jobs it offers are project based or one time task. For sure gig workers can get further projects from the same clients and their associates but it all depends on their own ability to promote and market themselves. Gig workers may find themselves without work in between different projects.

Benefits are nonexistent: Unlike employees in regular employment, gig workers are not entitled to supplementary employment benefits like health insurance, paid time off for illness, paid vacation, retirement benefits, or workers compensation. Gig workers may have greater financial risks and uncertainty than regular workers in this context. For instance, they might have to pay the full cost of any unanticipated medical costs or time off work, which can be a heavy burden.

Income inconsistency: Gig workers don't receive regular paychecks because, as was already mentioned, gig work is project-based, and each project from one client to another may differ greatly in terms of payments. Taking into account the time they may be unemployed between projects as well, this may make it difficult for them to plan their budget and future lives.

Isolation: Unlike regular employees, gig workers don't have access to teams or an office setting. Without adequate social interaction, they can work from home or in different places, which could cause them to feel lonely and isolated.

Work-life balance challenges: In contrast to our fifth benefit from the benefits, gig work may also cause disruption and pose challenges for work-life balance because the work here can be unpredictable and may call for irregular work hours. Gig workers may need to be available at any time and should always be looking for their next gig.

Limited options for career advancement: Gig workers frequently switch jobs in search of better opportunities and higher income, unlike typical employees who stay in one position and have a clear career progression route backed by the employer. As a result, they might not have the stability or set career path that a steady job offers. Gig workers may find it difficult to advance and establish themselves in their chosen fields without a clear path or long-term prospect and relationship.

Risk of exploitation: Because gig workers are not considered to be employees but rather independent contractors, they are not entitled to certain legal protections including workers' compensation, insurance, and minimum wage. Similar to how the competition in this particular field is growing quickly, gig workers' bargaining power is decreasing. Additionally, because gig workers depend on ratings and reviews to secure future projects, they may feel under pressure to accept any projects and terms, even if they are not always in their best interests. Due of these elements, gig workers are susceptible to exploitation.

We can analyze the attractiveness of the gig economy after assessing its advantages and disadvantages, but in order to ascertain whether it is a suitable fit for you, we also need to do a self-evaluation. Think about your areas of knowledge and competence. Make thorough study into what it takes to be a gig worker, as well as whether you can expand your skills in a certain industry as a gig worker. Analyze your financial condition as well. Consider gig employment if your finances are secure or if you have financial assistance. Gig employment might not be for you if you require a consistent income to cover your expenses. Finally, your own preferences. While some people favor the rigidity of traditional jobs, others favor the flexibility of gig labor. Although it's frequently best to follow trends in order to avoid falling behind, you don't have to dive directly into the gig economy. Think about what suits you the best. It’s unlikely that gig work will completely replace traditional employment but we definitely need to be careful about it influence on regular jobs.