Looking for a job with more flexibility? Trying to strike a better balance between work and life? Or maybe you’re looking to make some extra bucks on the side with a side gig.
You’re not alone.
According to a recent study published by Stats Canada, there are 1.7 million Canadians who are employed in the so-called “gig economy.” Together, they represent 8.2% of the workforce in 2016. This is a significant increase from the less than 1 million workers or 5.5% of the workforce that held side gigs in 2005.
What is a side gig?
Gig workers are defined as:
“Unincorporated, self-employed workers who enter into various contracts with firms or individuals to complete a specific task or to work for a specific period of time.”
This includes freelancers and on-demand workers hired by online platforms such as Uber.
Why is the gig economy growing in popularity?
Stats Canada notes the first jump in gig workers followed the global financial crisis and the subsequent recession. The second sharp increase came in 2012–2013, due to a “proliferation of online platforms” that provided the framework for gig-work to take place.
Other factors include:
- Recognizing that work and location don’t need to go hand-on-hand. With so many online platforms connecting workers to jobs and projects around the world, workers are realizing they don’t have to settle in one location. They can simply grab a laptop and head out the door. (Just don’t forget the internet connection!)
- Employers see value in selecting from a larger workforce pool. Online platforms have enabled employers to select the best individuals for specific projects from a larger pool than that available in any given area.
- Cutting overhead costs for business owners is enticing. Between taxes, supplies, equipment and all the other items you need to get your business up and running, having employees with pensions, vacation days and benefits — let alone office space — is not cheap.
- Responding to a demand for more flexibility. It’s common knowledge that the millennial generation is interested in flexibility and experience. They tend to change jobs several times throughout their working lives. The gig economy can be seen as an evolution of that trend.
- Adding an income stream. See gigs as an opportunity to supplement your income or create a cushion. If you hold down a traditional day job, then reeling in extra income through a side hustle can help you pay down debt, save more for retirement or fund other goals. Moreover, in a province like Alberta, whose economy has seen its share or peaks and valleys, building a buffer and a plan B can make the difference in your overall financial health.
- Following your passion. You have a passion for a craft that doesn’t have great prospects of paying the bills? Turning it into a side hustle might be the perfect way to follow your heart while maintaining a regular income. And who knows? Little steps overtime can lead to something more serious and even a full-time business.
What kinds of gigs are there?
Nowadays, having a gig doesn’t limit you to be an aspiring ‘freelance’ journalist globetrotter or delivering UberEats. Some sources are suggesting that gig work is becoming increasingly “white collar,” — and even becoming the primary worktype for many. Think more traditional “office” type work: computer programming, marketing, graphic design, technical writing or editing documents, as a few examples. Other popular types of work include personal assistant services, maintenance or handiwork, and babysitting or house-sitting.
Bottom line? The gig economy is growing and work trends are evolving. And the best part is that we have more options to choose from to design the life we want.
If you’re thinking of a side gig and don’t know where to start, the Guildstreet team is here to engage you in creating your best strategy and designing an optimal environment that promotes the seeds of your vision to take root. From there, the only way to grow is up.