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Why the Gig Economy is Exploding (According to the Facts)

Kalen Bruce | March 27, 2017

LinkedIn has access to more career data than most funded surveys, and they’ve used this to their advantage.

LinkedIn has taken the numbers from their user profiles and compiled the data into a study. And this study is eye-opening for anyone who’s interested in the Gig Economy and the new jobs it’s creating.

For starters, the study has shown that the number of freelance jobs has doubled over the last few years. This means that gig jobs are not only being sought out, but being claimed by the workers. This is actually more important than it sounds. People are actually proud of what they’re doing.

Changes to the Workplace

Rewind 10 years ago when almost every struggling creative was bartending or waiting tables on the side, and their social media profiles often had no mention of it. They weren’t happy about their side job; it was a means of living. They weren’t doing it because they loved serving their customers each night, they were doing it because they had to live on something while they were waiting on their break.

Now not only are more people enjoying their side job, but many people are taking their freelance job on as full-time employment. And they’re happier doing it:

gig economy satisfaction

So why the sudden shift in attitude? Choice is a lot of it.

Waiting tables isn’t the only way to make some extra money; the Gig Economy provides all kinds of options. And even within the Gig Economy, it’s not all Uber drivers. More options are opening up every day through innovative apps and services.

Almost anything you can think of doing is available as a job in the Gig Economy.

A few weeks ago, we took a look into six new gig companies, and within those six companies, there were more job options than you could work in an average lifetime.

Why the Sudden Boom in the Gig Economy?

We’re far from the days when workers were loyal to one company until retirement.

Pensions are practically unheard of, and benefits are often lacking.

Plus, on top of a flexible schedule and pay for what you work, many gig jobs are just more fun than average work and regular jobs. The jobs are so specific that you can almost always find something you love to do and you can get paid for it.

The LinkedIn study had some insight into why people are going gig:

why gig economy growing

Overall flexibility had a huge part in people’s reasoning.

If the options were between a company that’s going to give you full benefits and a full pension, and a gig company that pays you by the job, more people may choose the first option. Since those types of jobs are a thing of the past, the gigs are looking better and better.

For those who are of a more entrepreneurial mindset, they can always start their own gig company. People are doing it everyday as more and more companies enter the Gig Economy.

Who’s Working in the Gig Economy?

It’s not just millennials who are moving into the gig sector, the LinkedIn studies are showing that the age range is split across the board. Sure, there are a lot of millennials, but there are also a lot of people who already consider themselves retired.

Other than age, income was another huge factor of course. People need the gigs to supplement their income, especially after the overall decrease of income. In fact, one of the most interesting finds in the study was that the average median income has actually dropped 8% from 2000 to 2012, while the average price of rent increased by 13%.

In some ways, times are getting tougher, so people from all demographics are turning to the Gig Economy for more work, and for many different reasons.

Why the Gig Economy is Exploding

For example, a common reason people are turning to gigs is to save more for retirement. Retirement isn’t the same type of goal as it used to be, but it’s still something people strive for. Nowadays, retirement is more of a fallback plan, or a security net, instead of a way to stop working completely.

More and more people are saying that they never plan to quit working, for several reasons. While some people love working and contributing their part, others feel stuck and don’t think it would ever be possible to leave their job.

kalen bruce
Kalen Bruce is the founder of MoneyMiniBlog.com. He defies millennial laws by having no debt and four children.