By now, most people have heard of the “gig economy” and have heard it’s changing certain aspects of the way businesses are run. That said, not everyone has a full understanding of this new phenomenon and how exactly it relates to them.
As a business owner or community leader, it’s important that you educate yourself on this matter to ensure you’re using the gig economy to your advantage.
What Is the Gig Economy?
In short, the “gig economy” is exactly what it sounds like: Short-term work. Really, this gig work isn’t a new thing at all. After all, contract workers and freelancers have been around for as long as the idea of paid work has existed. However, the prevalence of the internet in our lives has taken short-term work to another level, growing the number of freelance jobs on the market and thus creating the gig economy we know today.
In this age of the internet, more and more people are taking up online freelance work. Meanwhile, apps and companies such as Uber, Shipt, and Taskrabbit make it easy for individuals to find short-term offline work on the spot.
This is ideal for workers because it allows them to create their own schedules. That said, the gig economy could potentially reduce the number of part-time and full-time “traditional” jobs on the market by replacing them with gig work. Additionally, there’s always the potential that job supply won’t meet the demand, something that can be frustrating for those who are trying to make a living through the gig economy.
What Does the Gig Economy Mean for Floridians?
Florida—south Florida in particular—is seeing enormous gig economy growth. In fact, according to this report from the Stephen S. Fuller Institute, between 1997 and 2015, the city of Miami saw a 142% increase in the number of “remote” companies (that is, contractors or workers claiming employment with companies who do not report having physical locations in the area) represented within the city. This number includes self-employed individuals as well as freelancers and independent contractors, making it a fairly accurate representation of gig economy growth. The U.S. city with the second most growth is Atlanta at 126%, meaning Miami is actually ahead by quite a large margin.
Many wonder why Florida is seeing this accelerated growth. Our best guess is that it’s due to the relatively low number of large corporations in the southern Florida area (based on the Fuller Institute report above). This lack of corporations leaves self-employed people ample room to survive and even thrive. For this reason, we expect to see the world of short-term work continue to grow in Florida in coming years.
Embracing the Gig Economy
Even despite the potential negatives mentioned above, this new way of working is here to stay. In fact, according to an Edleman Intelligence report commissioned by the Freelancers Union and Upwork, it’s estimated that by 2027 freelancers will become the majority of the workforce. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that businesses and community leaders embrace this change and use it to improve the world around them.
Florida businesses would be wise to take part in the gig economy by hiring contractors to take on certain jobs. By providing these individuals with clearly defined desired outcomes, businesses will benefit from quality work without going through the process of hiring on a new employee. Smaller businesses on tight budgets will have the ability to pick and choose which tasks they wish to hire out and can choose a fixed-rate contractor in order to ensure they stay within the constraints of their budget. Meanwhile, larger corporations will enjoy the option of bringing on a well-qualified individual for specific tasks, ensuring they’re working with the best person for the job every time.
Leaders in the community who aren’t business owners can also help support the gig economy. They can do this by 1) encouraging businesses to offer work to freelancers, and 2) urging people to consider gig work in order to improve their financial situations. By growing the gig economy, these leaders can expect to see many positive changes, including a potential for reduced financial hardship, an increase in work opportunities, and a stronger sense of well-being in the community.
At CareerSource North Central Florida, we’re using gig economy training to help get individuals back into the workforce quickly and build up their work experience ultimately making them either self-sufficient or more competitive for traditional work with our businesses. Gig work opens a new set of options for how we grow the nation’s leading talent base to meet the needs of expanding businesses here in Florida.
Are you looking to find your place in the gig economy? CareerSource North Central Florida can help! We offer businesses the assistance they need to recruit, develop, and grow the team that’s best for them. This includes finding talented individuals for those short-term gigs.
Contact us today to get started.