#1. The growth and the appeal of the gig economy represent a shift in how we define work.

Traditionally we defined part-time work opportunities as part-time jobs that required agreement to a specific timeframe and place, even how the work would be accomplished. The gig economy changed the definition of how we define work and empowered the worker by enabling workers to choose when and how they want to work. No longer do we think of work possibilities being constrained by specific hours.

#2. Flexibility and Freedom in how work can be accomplished are new attributes/values shared and desired by all segments in society.

Men and women in all segments of society, from Gen Z through Baby Boomer, value flexibility and freedom in how work can be accomplished. A student can find work opportunities in the gig economy without the constraints imposed by a traditional part-time job. Workers in current employment who desire to leverage underutilized time to enhance income without disruption to full-time work or even family responsibilities or other interests appreciate flexibility in how work can be accomplished. I cannot think of any segment in our society that does not appreciate flexibility and freedom regarding work. The traditional 9-to-5 workplace may be getting the pink slip.

#3. Work will become more and more equitable and inclusive.

The opportunity to build and scale a business idea has been enabled and simplified by advancements in technology. The digital platform is what used to be the office or store. Consumers now seek products and services 24/7 via devices that connect to an internet of things. Platforms like Etsy (www.etsy.com) enable anyone with a unique product to market and sell to a global marketplace. Companies like Shopify (www.shopify.com) enable the start-up of a business idea fully supported by digital assets for a few hundred dollars vs. hundreds of thousands of dollars. All forms of gig work opportunities connect providers with potential or actual customers and clients. Gender is not a factor in a new digital-focused economy, nor is age; therefore, we expect the new work opportunities to be more equitable, more performance-based, more inclusive of all segments even the more mature who may seek work because of being replaced, displaced or simply in need of income possibilities. 

#4. There will be more unbundling of safety-net products and services, such as health insurance and retirement plans, from traditional employment.  

As more of the workforce opts for flexible and more entrepreneurial work options, the demand for safety-net products will certainly increase, and providers will realize that their health and retirement instruments can no longer be brokered solely through traditional work structures in the form of benefits associated with full-time employment. The growth in flexible work opportunities will create a new market for safety-net products that must become affordable in work formats other than traditional 9-to-5 employment. Providers of these services cannot ignore this new, different, and growing market of gig workers/microentrepreneurs. The Association for Entrepreneurship fills this need very effectively!

#5. Microentrepreneurial opportunities will continue to be appealing.

The global pandemic caused us to think differently and do things differently. Many hourly workers who were displaced had to find new ways to survive, including new ways to work and be compensated. We are now living in a new digital platform-based economy. The U.S. Labor Bureau has been reflecting a growing quit rate amongst hourly workers across all industries and all regions within the United States. These workers are not quitting work; they are quitting traditional forms of work and shifting to new opportunities.

Article contributed by
John T. Fleming,
Author — Ultimate Gig

John T Fleming, a white man in his 60s or 70s wearing glasses and a dark blazer jacket