Gig Economy Trends: Developments, and Insights into the Industry 2016

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

As technology continues to evolve, so will the gig economy and the new ventures that grow with it over time.

Whether you have booked a room using Airbnb during your travels or utilized Uber for a ride, you are part of a vibrant and growing gig economy.

The gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations work with independent workers for short-term projects, according to WhatIs.com.

With the help of technology, you will increasingly see more than just an uptick in gig economy businesses and startups in the years ahead.  A study conducted by Intuit indicated that by the year 2020 exactly 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.

It's a safe be that the gig economy is here to stay. The business ecosystem has drastically changed since the end of the 2008 recession. In a survey conducted by the professional staffing services, Addison Group, the results revealed hiring managers show a willingness to hire temp contractors has become a permanent fixture in the job market because of the advantages it presents to the organization.

So, by how much has the gigging or temp worker grown in the workforce in the United States? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates this trend to have grown by more than 65 percent. A lot of this increase in tapping into the potential of the gig economy has become viable thanks to cheaper cloud computing, remote work tools and the spread of enterprise-level technology platforms for independent workers, according to a Fastcompany.com analysis.

Related Article: Investing In the Freelance Economy: How Can Freelancers Help Your Growing Business?

For small businesses, enterprises or startups drawing from a pool of temp workers, the gig economy eliminates hiring costs and at the same time, these contractors or freelancers exercise greater independence to manage work. In addition, you can utilize any temporary worker for a period of time to determine if the individual is a good fit and because of the evolving employment landscape you may end up with really great qualified candidates with additional skills.

As reported by Addison survey here are three reasons managers hire contractors:

  • Reducing operating expenses incurred by a full-time hire
  • A quick solution to under-staffing problems
  • Finding a dedicated worker focused on pressing short-term projects

The gig economy came about indirectly as a consequence of the great recession and changes to the labor market. Combine that with the widespread of technology and you have opportunities to really work more efficiently by moving away from outdated business models.  

Who Makes Up the Gig Economy and How It Works

What we are witnessing is nothing short of a freelancer revolution that has sprung about and led to a transformational effect on how workers carry out tasks nowadays. The following infographic breaks down how you are using the gig economy and amongst other essential aspects:

You Probably Use The Gig Economy And Don't Know It - See more at: http://visual.ly/you-probably-use-gig-economy-and-dont-know-it#sthash.LzFnG02w.dpuf

Related Article: The Freelance Economy is Taking Charge: How Startups and SMEs Can Make the Most Out Of It

So how big has this gig economy grown? The above infographic shows more than 50 million work workers entered the gig economy workforce in 2015. To put that number into perspective there was an increase in 700,000 workers from a year earlier. It is calculated that U.S. adults now make up 90 million for this sharing economy.

So the basic model for the gig economy is broken down into three groups:

  • Providers
  • Freelancers
  • Clients

Any app-based startups like Uber, Buddytruk.com, Zeel.com, Blablacar.fr, Airbnb and others provide the infrastructure for workers to perform services, which bypasses the traditional employer to employee relationship. As a freelancer, you work on-demand and provide services to the company´s clients. So instead of having a salary and benefits you will be compensated for the job performed throughout the duration of the project controlling the workflow.

And finally come the third element of the gig economy and that is clients. As the visual graphic explains the request for services are processed through a web platform or smartphone app and allows to search for providers for specific projects. Now that we know the model for the gig economy expects big things in this industry.

Uber went from a $60 million company in 2011 to an expected $60 billion in 2016, but not without some hiccups or controversies that include challenges from taxi companies and governments.

It is a growing business model and an important sector of the economy, which companies looking to adapt in a competitive market will have to evolve their operations and tailor their core training programs to meet the demands of this latest trends.

Common Contract Mistakes to Avoid and Legal Technology Trends to Harness

As a temporary worker, freelancer or a contractor the grass is not always greener on the other side. Since you do have a great deal of freedom and flexibility in your work this does make contract negotiations simpler. It is paramount to cover every single detail without leaving anything out.

Contracts are the backbone to practically almost any business exchange that you can fall back on when a conflict or disagreement arises around a project, they are the best way to ensure business proceeds as planned. A blog post written by Rogers and Moss Attorneys at Law emphasizes the need to have contractual agreements drafted by an attorney who will include clauses that ambiguous pre-made legal forms tend to leave out; and to verify that every detail has been carefully scrutinized specific to one's state.

Elsewhere, legal tech will undergo significant shifts in 2016. Specifically, contract software will see major growth fueling the usage of cloud computing by lawyers to run their law firms, mentioned by Capterra. In other words, artificial intelligence will automate more legal tasks. These legal software resources will be extended onto mobile and wearable devices providing a robust set of tools to better handle anything related to law, disputes and contracts.

Related Article: Hire Like Uber: How to Leverage the Freelance Economy for Startup Growth

Takeaways and Conclusions

The gig economy represents new opportunities for both the temp worker and the business organization. It offers flexibility for all of the parties involved and it breaks from traditional exchanges between the employer and employee relationship.

Temporary or freelance projects brings dozens of benefits. For example, gig workers have autonomy, greater quality of work, workload control, new skills, no office politics, no commute and others. With this in mind, those who are responsible for hiring will have the option to profile from a sizeable population of candidates to locate ideal and qualified candidates for permanent positions.

Technology and law are constantly changing. This makes a greater demand for attorneys and law firms to learn all of the necessary insights to mastering legal software in order to better serve their clients.

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