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How The Gig Economy is Changing The Educational System

For many decades now, getting a college education for the sake of getting an education was seen as enough motivation in and of itself. However, tuition costs have increased at a rate three times faster than inflation and is only projected to keep increasing according to research published by Goldman Sachs. This combined with many other trends have altered the way education is valued in today’s gig economy.

How Expensive is College Really?

As an applicable note on the subject, let’s look at just how expensive college degrees have become. While these numbers obviously won’t reflect any grants and/or scholarships that you could get to offset educational costs, they will give you a good idea of what it costs to get a college education. Numbers from an MIC article on how the gig economy is reshaping college education:

  • Four Year Private Degree: $104,400
  • Four Year Public College (in-state) School: $56,840
  • Student Debt: Americans have amassed around 1.5 trillion in student debt. A number that is more than the rest of the world, combined according to a Bloomberg Report.

What Does All This Mean?

Suffice it to say, college is expensive, and this expense has led many to amass a great deal of debt, all in an effort to make it in the world. However, even with the expense involved in gaining a college education, many who earn one aren’t currently using it as intended. In fact, up to half of college grads don’t end up working in the field of their degree.

The Role of The Gig Economy as it Relates to College Education

Currently, the gig economy has caused a shift in the way many people make a living. For example, by the year 2015, there were around 54 million individuals who were working as independent contractors or freelancers. These freelance contractors typically earn 17% per hour more than traditional full-time employees. This number is only increasing yearly. Even traditional companies are now interweaving freelance or contract employees among their other employees. It is estimated that around 60% of companies intend to hire more freelancers or contractors than full-time employees. Another 45% of these companies expect to increase their freelance work force by 30% by 2020.

How the Gig Economy is Shifting The Way Many People Look At Training

Because of the expansion and growth of the gig economy, there is a greater emphasis on adaptability in the work force. Consequently, traditional education being the primary trump card to get hired has changed. Now, companies are more interested in your hands-on work experience and/or your individual skill sets. Of course, that doesn’t mean educational training is without merit. Instead, most employers are simply now focusing more on hand’s on internships or specific training for a certain job, not a general “degree” that you obtain for the sake of getting a degree. This is all due to the “cataclysmic shifts in how we live and work.”

One Real Life Example

One real world example of this is 19-year-old Kularante who decided to participate in the Young Entrepreneurs Program out of Kansas City. This training is not traditional education, but instead an internship program that promotes work experience over classroom hours. Those within the program like Kularante will work with mentors and businesses to learn market, engineer and manage products, including the finance and sales aspects. Kularanate interned with a financial technology startup, and they ended up offering him a full-time position. This new approach to training and education is all due in large part to the expansion of the gig economy.

What is The Gig Economy And Why is it Changing Education?

A gig way of life is in essence doing a series of jobs, instead of one long-term career. A professor at the Graduate of the City University of New York and author of The New Education, Cathy Davidson, says the following about the shift in the way people should obtain training and then become employed in today’s gig economy:

“We need to seriously rethink the infrastructures, assessment methods curriculum, and pedagogies we use in higher education today. Most of these were specifically invented during an era of extreme cataclysmic changes to the worlds of work and social life, namely the 19th century and the era of industrialization and urbanization.”

Today, we need to reconsider what it means to obtain a college education. Does it really matter if you get an “A” in your college course or obtained the degree you worked so hard for, yet can’t put your knowledge into practice? Is it even worth having? That is truly the question many are facing in today’s evolving gig economy. In reality, it is likely a mixture of an education and practical world experience which is the most valuable. Contact us to learn more about hiring a freelance writing professional for your gig project.


Brandie P. understands the importance of high-quality copywriting. She presents her clients in the best of light and is committed to communicating both factual and informative content. Her clients appreciate her attention to detail and her propensity to double check stats and make sure what she is writing is in fact absolutely true. As a result, clients can rest assured that the content Brandie creates is both beneficial to her clients and serves their purposes perfectly.

Guest Author

By WriterAccess

Freelancer Brandie P

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