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Impact of the Gig Economy on Millennials

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Employment
Wordcount: 2228 words Published: 20th Feb 2019

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Why The Gig Economy Is The Best and Worst Development For Millennials


An intrusive economic downfall otherwise known as a recession hit in 2008, when millennials were still in college or entering the workforce for the first time. This had a major effect on the development of careers  for millennials who found a secure career path before the recession developed, the downturn of the economy was not as hard felt for those who have been in the workforce for quite some time, but for millennials trying to find work after companies instituted hiring freezes and lowered workers’ salaries, the job market was in a drought.

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During this time the gig economy was starting to make its way into the economy making it both an opportunity and a challenge. This was an opportunity for those were out of a job and needed immediate work; however, for many employers this posed quite a challenge. For employers, this caused for them to have many positions that they could not hire for and caused them potential candidates who were looking for more of a work-home balance (Alton, Larry 2016).

What Is The Gig Economy?

According to TechTarget, a gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short term assignments (2016). In a gig economy, businesses save money on what they would have spent on overhead such as a business space. This type of work allows for workers to be selective in the type of work they want to perform and allow employers to staff for more specialized roles a lot quicker than before.

This model is geared towards those who want to be entrepreneurs. But for those, such as millennials who are just now getting into their careers or are already in their careers this type of work environment can’t be a good and a bag thing according to how they play their cards.

Thriving In The Gig Economy; How Successful Freelancers Mange The Uncertainty.

“Thriving in The Gig Economy How Successful Freelancers Manage the Uncertainty,” By Gianipiero, Petrigeli, focused on the attributes and patience one must have thrive in the gig economy. In this study, the writer spoke with several freelancers who have been working in this type of environmental for over five years and have gained insight on what one needs to thrive. In a gig economy financial insecurity is a major concern as well as the lack of human interaction. When you are working gig-based jobs that are platform based you are waiting for notifications to be sent to your phone, or your waiting to hear back from potential clients regarding your proposals it becomes harder to build relationships with those who have not already used or heard of your work. According to one freelancer that was interviewed for this paper, who goes by the name of Mary. Mary stated that; “Working in this type of structure is like that of being on a trapeze.”

Produce or Parish

Another topic that was mentioned in this article, was Produce or Parish. Produce or parish as related to this type of work structure Is often regarded as if you don’t obtain clients then you will parish in the form of not being able to pay your bills or in other words be financially secure. The writer states that, “The first thing they realized when they began interviewing independent consultants and artists was that the stakes of independent work are enormously high— not just financially but also existentially. Unshackled from managers and corporate norms, people can choose assignments that make the most of their talents and reflect their true interests. They feel ownership over what they produce and over their entire professional lives.

Sustaining productivity is a constant struggle. Distress and distractions can erode it, and both impediments abound in people’s working lives. One executive coach gave a poignant description of an unproductive day: “It’s when there is so much to do that I’m disorganized and can’t get my act together. [In the evening,] the same e-mails I opened in the morning are still open. The documents I wanted to get done are not done. I got distracted and feel like I wasted time.” A day like that, he said, leaves him full of self-doubt (PETRIGLIERI, ASHFORD, AND WRZESNIEWSKI 2018).

Are There Good Jobs In The Gig Economy?

In this article the writer proposed the question, “Are there any good jobs in this type of economy, and if so, where are they?”  According to recent study the gig economy makes up more than half of todays workforce, the majority of those being millennials. Millennials are more inclined to be searching for a work-life balance in which baby-boomers were not accustomed to. Many millennials are not interested in full-time jobs that in their eyes tie them down to an office but for gigs that a lot them the opportunity to work as little or as much as they want and not be tied down into one select field.

There is a multitude of growth that has been hitting the airways with this newly found economy and it seems to not be stopping anytime soon. Economists estimate that the portion of U.S. workers earning a living as independent contractors, freelancers, temps, and on-call employees jumped from 10% in 2005 to nearly 16% in 2015. Workers of these “alternative work credit this type of work environment to those who are burnout, or hating one’s job for freedom, flexibility, and financial gains. Whereas, skeptics feel that this is going to end badly for those working in this type of economy due to lack of having benefits and stability.

Financial insecurity is a big and ever-present concern. So is the lack of human connection: Kessler writes, “I don’t think Silicon Valley was wrong to attempt to restructure the job. Our current model wasn’t working, and the startup spirit of experimentation was necessary (Torres, 2018).

The Future of Work is Flexible

Flexibility in the workplace is defined differently amongst individual workers. However; the common denominator amongst all workers is that when working in a flexible environment one is allotted the opportunity to make choices on where and how long they spend on work related task. Recent trends in availability of those working flexible jobs have seen a recent spike in flexibility in the workplace. Employees in this type of environment may have flexibility regarding the time in which they start and end their work-related duties and as in where they can complete their work. In this article two researchers go into detail on how this type of environment has shaped the recent economy and how this work environment poses its own separate challenges.

According to researchers Kerr, and Nevin, the world of work is transforming: technological, socioeconomic and demographic shifts are changing the way we think, demanding greater flexibility in how both individuals and organizations operate. In fact, the concept of employment itself seems to have passed its sell-by date. This type of online work has made it easier for those to find jobs/ complete tasks for those who are seeking the help.

This type of environment is more cost-effective for employees due to the nature of them not having to purchase additional office space for employees and not having to offer many of the benefits that they would have to offer if their employees were working at the office on a full-time basis.  (Kerr, 2017).


According to researcher Jamie Kerr, although this type of environment brings on a good connotation allowing those workers the work-life balance they are seeking there are still some drawbacks that many companies and employees are facing. “There is then the debate as to whether employment regulations and practices are still fit for purpose. The new explosion of small-scale entrepreneurship might make you wonder whether we’re returning to the kind of economy espoused in 1776 by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations (Kerr,2017).

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The rise of this new economy is defining what it really means for one to work for self. One key problem is that many individuals find it hard to distinguish between employment and self-employment. There is little clarity in the statutory definitions of employment status, although there is a body of case law. Statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, training support and employer pension contributions are some of the occupational benefits that an employee will forgo when they become technically self-employed. As more people do this there is growing pressure for the law to be simplified (Kerr,2017).


Full-time employment was once known as job security and stability and is now becoming increasingly rare. Employers are now creating less full-time positions and are starting to outsource many of their positions to workers who find work on sites such as Upwork and Flex jobs. For the growing number of people seeking employment, working a gig is becoming increasingly safer.

Living without those benefits you would receive from a more conventional work environment may seem reckless, but with proper planning, you can manage a career working gigs/freelancing that can be just as stable. Working in this environment you have more control over the jobs you would like to take on as well as have a work-life balance and therefore you are seeing more millennials then any other age demographic working these types of jobs. It remains a mystery as to whether the gig economy is a healthy alternative to working a conventional 9-5 for economic development overall, but for millennials, it’s certainly both.

For young workers who are seeking to make an extra income to help pay for college or to even move out of their parents’ house, this type of economy can be quite frustrating, but for those who have built a life around gig work and want to gain a multitude of experience in various industries the gig economy it a great way to achieve those goals. Regardless of how you feel about it, the gig economy is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future (and experience even further growth), so it’s best to learn how to take advantage of it for yourself—and avoid the pitfalls that your peers are facing (Alton, Larry2018).


PETRIGLIERI, G., ASHFORD, S., & WRZESNIEWSKI, A. (2018). THRIVING IN THE GIG ECONOMY. (cover story). Harvard Business Review96(2), 140-143.

TORRES, N. (2018). ARE THERE GOOD JOBS IN THE GIG ECONOMY. Harvard Business Review96(4), 146-147.

Kerr, J. (2017). The future of work is…flexible. Director70(10), 60.


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