Micro-enterprise opportunities are now available to all segments of the population. This enables people from all walks of life to be in business for themselves as an independent contractor working from home or smartphone.
As we sought to understand who was being attracted to the gig economy, it quickly became apparent that gig workers come from all walks of life. Millennials and Generation Z are not so interested in the traditional model of work. They seek more flexibility, and gig work is all about flexibility and freedom in how work can be accomplished. We also found that retirement may not be working as well as planned for the majority of retirees.
Middle-aged Americans have been hit hard by the recent pandemic. But even before the pandemic, older workers were already beginning to realize the impact of such technology as artificial intelligence and robots on the various forms of work. Definitions of work have changed, and many have been displaced or replaced. Therefore, all segments of the population are looking for ways to keep income higher than expenses.
Retirees in the traditional workforce are disadvantaged when seeking a return to the workforce. Women who take maternity leave or decide to stay home to take care of children during their formative years have always understood the challenges of returning to the workforce after long periods of absence. Debt and a lower-than-planned level of savings and investments have become the American way of living and working. (The statistics reveal this to be true. See Welcome to the Gig Economy and the Ultimate Gig book for specific citations.)
When we reflect on all of the comments above, it begins to sound like a perfect storm. But within this storm is a rainbow of new opportunities far greater than perhaps envisioned 100 years ago or even a few short years ago.
Flexibility in how we work can be attained. Traditional businesses are expected to continue their offer of alternative work arrangements. In fact, 51% of all businesses are expected to be offering more flexible work plans vs. the traditional 9-to-5 format. Micro-enterprise opportunities are unleashed to the masses, and the gig economy makes it possible.