As more businesses and workers choose gig-work over traditional hiring, the gig economy grows. An article by Forbes summed up the growth of the gig-economy this year, noting that in 2020, around 35 percent of the U.S. workforce – roughly 57 million Americans – participated in gig-work. That percentage is up from between 14 and 20 percent in 2014.
These numbers are expected to continue growing. MBO expects careers to become more gig-based over the next five years, both within and across organizations, as workers look for more opportunities to earn supplemental income and pick up new skills.
Although hiring slowed in 2020, economists predict that gig employment will make a strong return in 2021. TechRepublic reported that many Fortune 500 CEOs agree that the gig economy is the new future of work. This year’s pandemic has helped many companies discover the benefits of an on-demand workforce. These companies will continue to use gig workers so that they can meet rising consumer demand in 2021 and lower the risk of growing their workforce, a risk which Silicon Republic reported to be a serious consideration for many businesses moving forward.
As the gig economy grows, it will receive more attention from lawmakers and the public. New measures, such as the Prop 22 initiative which passed in California last November, will more clearly define the classifications and benefits entitled to gig workers.
Prop 22 and other discussions taking place at the White House and in Massachusets address how gig-workers are classified – as independent contractors or employees. Although some gig-workers appreciate the degree of freedom they receive from being classified as independent contractors, others desire the protections they would receive under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if they were classified as employees. Gig-worker classification will likely continue to gain political and lawmaking momentum in 2021.
Hopefully, these discussions and legislations will develop a healthy market where gig workers are well cared for and businesses can access the labor they need. In the meantime, companies and workers will learn more about cooperation for mutual benefit in the growing gig economy.
Although the future is never certain, we at Gravy Work have high hopes that the gig economy will thrive in 2021.