What is the gig economy exactly, and is it opening the doors to a new era of work? We take a look at the challenges, opportunities and the technology involved in this evolving labor market.
The Covid-19 pandemic certainly has had a profound impact on both private and work life for many of us. While many businesses are working hard to reach an international customer base, we as consumers have also become more aware of local businesses close to where we live.
The gig economy
Whenever I walk around in my hometown Uppsala these days, I’m always amazed byhow many food delivery couriers buzz up and down the streets, and how the pandemic seems to have acted as a boost for these types of delivery jobs. Over the last 18 months, we’ve been encouraged to use food delivery apps as an alternative to in-person visits to restaurants, or to use online commerce instead of physical retail shopping. As a result, the gig economy has received a boost. In fact, a study by Upwork concluded that 12 percent of the US workforce started freelancing during 2020.
The term ‘gig’ is a slang word for a job assignment with a limited duration. While temporary work roles have existed before in the form of freelancers, independent contractors, and project-based workers, for example, the digital platform has enabled gig workers to take the temporary job to a new level. Even if gig work and digital platform-based work are two separate things, digital platforms have come to drive the evolution of the gig work market by bringing together supply and demand for labor into one single, and often global, platform.