Gig Economy: Get to Know the Ever-Changing World of Work

The world of work is constantly changing. Technological developments affect it. Workers and companies continue to follow these developments to remain standing. Gig Economy is one of them. What is the gig economy?

What is The Gig Economy?

A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common. Organizations hire independent workers for short-term commitments or a labor market that relies heavily on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers rather than full-time permanent employees. The term “gig” is a slang word for a job that lasts a specified period of time. Traditionally, the term was used by musicians to define performance engagement.

Examples of gig workers include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers, and temporary or part-time hires. A gig worker can opt to work for a set amount of hours (like choosing a shift) or work by the project. Once the task or shift is complete, the worker moves on to the next gig. That might be another task with the same company or something entirely different with another company.

The gig economy is gradually becoming a source of revenue for more people worldwide, with more companies utilizing this model as their chief functioning approach. Even Gig workers gain flexibility and independence but need more job security.

According to a Marist poll, one-fifth of American jobs are contracted, and half of the US workforce could find themselves doing contract or freelance work over the next decade. Meanwhile, according to data from Badan Pusat Statistik in May 2019, the number of casual workers in Indonesia is around 5.89 million. Developments in the telecommunications world and the use of crowdsourcing have encouraged several business sectors not to need many permanent employees. Hence, they started turning to casual workers instead of regular workers. 

Statistics on The Development of The Gig Economy in Indonesia

According to Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS), The gig economy trend in Indonesia is developing, as seen from the number of freelancers as of August 2020 of 33.33 million, an increase of around 26% from 2019. Currently, various start-up companies are recruiting many independent workers. Because these independent workers are not binding on the company, neither does the company have to pay more for employee accommodation. In Indonesia, there is the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, where a new system is formed at work, namely WFH.

So the trend of the gig economy is also developing. With the development of the gig economy, the number of gig workers in Indonesia has increased. With so many gig workers, of course, it affects the economy in Indonesia itself. They were starting with more flexible wage rates, involving the income figures of the people: purchase value and others.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of The Gig Economy for The Startup Industry

Not all jobs can follow the flow of the gig economy. Here are some jobs that are commonly employed in the gig economy phenomenon.

  • IT: network analyst, information security engineer
  • Writing: content writer, resume writer, copywriter, UX copywriter
  • Accounting: accountant, accounting assistant
  • Administrative: virtual assistant, pharmacy technician, design administrative assistant
  • Education: teacher, lecturer, tutor
  • Software development: game engineer, UI/UX designer, DevOps engineer
  • Project management: project manager, office manager, epic management project manager

Then what are the advantages of having gig workers and this gig economy culture for the startup industry?

Advantages

In a gig economy, businesses save money and resources. They aren’t responsible for providing employee benefits, such as sick leave and health insurance, and they often don’t have to provide workers with office space, equipment and training. A gig model also enables a business to contract with experts, who might be too expensive to hire as full-time staff, for specific projects.

Of course, this is very profitable for small or new companies like startups. Suitable for startups. So, this can be an alternative for startup companies. The gig economy provides an opportunity for companies to find the best employees because of their swift turnover. In addition, the company also can bind itself to a few permanent employees so that startups can find workers quickly and take advantage of their excellent performance at a much lower cost.

Deficiency

Gig work can be disruptive if the worker isn’t used to making their own schedule. Inexperienced workers can easily take on too many gigs, leading to overwork and burnout. Of course this affects the company as well. As a new company, the startup certainly has certain targets in the near future. If workers who work experience burnout, it will certainly affect their performance to achieve company targets. Temporary workers who come and go in an organization make it difficult to maintain consistent relationships among workers, employers and clients on a long-term basis. This will also be a bad thing in the future for startup companies.

What Impacts the Gig Economy?

Shifting political, cultural and business environments affect the gig economy. For example, changing government regulations and company policies around the employment status of gig workers, who is considered a full-time employee versus an independent contractor can alter the gig workforce.

A full-time worker may be eligible for certain benefits and a base level of pay that an independent contractor would not automatically receive. Of course, for startups, there could be a new regulation on users of gig workers in the future, which will affect company regulations.

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