It’s not uncommon for people to immediately correlate the gig economy with Millennials; after all, that’s the first generation of working age that doesn’t know what the world was like without smartphones, constant connectivity, and completely mobile workspaces (well, the younger part of this generation, at least). With 71 million Millennials in the United States and estimates of somewhere between 55 and 60 million United States workers taking part in the gig economy, the math works out in a way that the entire gig force could technically be completely comprised of Millennials. But, we know that’s simply not true. It’s worth noting that the numbers revolving around the actual count of independent contractors in today’s gig economy are just that—estimates. Why? Because, given the nature of freelancing and gigging in general, much of this work is able to go unreported. However, with this said, it’s highly unreasonable to think 100% of an entire generation is contributing to this new portable work solution.
So, who are the people making up this new working landscape?
The Wall Street Journal reports that approximately 42 million people in the U.S. are expected to be completely self-employed by 2020—a number that’s lesser than that mentioned above because it’s excluding people who delve into independent contract work as a means of operating a side hustle. Of those 42 million people, the publication reports that around 42 percent of workers are expected to be Millennials. That means more than half of the freelance workforce will be comprised of younger—or more likely, older—generational counterparts.
What’s the Allure for Older Generations?
Back when the Great Recession hit, it wasn’t uncommon for people to pick up gig work out of necessity. They found ways to supplement their income—or create an income in the case of layoffs—using their talents, networking abilities, and skills they’d been honing their entire lives.
When the country finally started to come back from its painful, sleepy slumber, a lot of folks had realized success in ways they weren’t able to do when they operating solely under the heavy arm of traditional corporate policies. In some instances, freelancers dropped out of the standard workday all together in favor of conducting business on their own time and in their own ways. For others, the extra money that started coming in as a result of their side hustle helped pay down mortgages, pad retirement accounts, and bolster resumes with skills they weren’t able to achieve from their employer.
Bear in mind, the majority of the Millennial generation wasn’t of working age yet when the economy collapsed in 2008, particularly not in a professional setting. The people who carved out their own niches were of the Baby Boomer and Gen-X demographics.
Now, more than a decade removed from the housing bubble and the catastrophe that followed, gig workers are actually enjoying what they’re doing on the side or as full-time freelancers. They’ve found ways to make money from their hobbies, owning their individual talents while procuring places in the market that are just for them.
Bob P., long-time wordsmith and journalistic writer at WriterAccess says of his generation’s role in the gig economy:
“For older people who are either retired or ‘aged out’ of their former careers yet aren’t ready to or can’t retire, the gig economy provides an opportunity to begin a new career, or at least stay in the game and pay the bills.”
It’s no longer just about surviving; it’s about surviving in a way that offers sustenance and a positive way of life within this new world. Dedicated, highly skilled professionals who have been practicing their trade for decades are now sharing their knowledge on their own time. Doctors, lawyers, web designers, journalists, athletes, and pharmacists are among the titles you’ll see today’s freelancers sharing alongside their gig roles. In other words, the skills and experience today’s independent contractors bring to the table are limitless.
Are you ready to delve into the benefits the gig economy can offer your company? No matter if your organization is a one-man operation or a global entity, the freelancers at WriterAccess can help! Start building your team of highly skilled content writers, content strategists, editors, and translators today!
Kristin B is interested in anything that teaches her something new or gives her a different perspective on something she already knew. She’s a self-proclaimed Learn Nerd, which means the world is her educational oyster, and she’s always seeking opportunities to learn from life’s experiences and her clients’ assignments.