Considering a Gig Job? Here’s What You Should Know.

Gig jobs are those where workers earn money based on the task, or “gig” they complete. Gig workers are typically independent contractors or free-lancers who work part-time, without benefits, sometimes for multiple companies. There has been a lot of buzz in the press lately about the rise of the gig economy. Is this the new wave of the future?

According to Colorado Department of Labor statistics, the number of Colorado part-time workers actually decreased from 23.9% in 2006 to 22.5% in 2016. Interestingly, the number of part-time workers seeking full-time employment rose during the same period, from 13.7% in 2006 to 16.7% in 2016. So what does this mean? Despite all the press, the gig economy isn’t significantly changing the way we work. People work part-time for a number of reasons and some of those prefer full-time work.

What has changed is the number of opportunities. The rise of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Rover and similar companies has resulted in an increasing number of easily accessible gig jobs. If you are considering testing the gig economy, here are some considerations:

  1. Is the gig economy a good fit? If you’re trying to earn some extra cash, try out a new business or field, or plan for a future career change, a gig job may be what you’re looking for. If you crave stability, benefits or a traditional structure, you will likely wind up frustrated.
  2. Do you like flexibility? The hours and schedules for gig jobs can flex to fit your lifestyle. Do you have to work around another job or family obligations? Do you prefer to work from home? As your own boss, you decide when and where to work.
  3. Can you manage yourself? You won’t have a set schedule so you have to stay on task. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. And don’t forget to plan for taxes as a self-employed worker.
  4. Do you offer a needed skill? As in most types of work, the more in-demand your skill, the higher the pay. If anyone can do the gig job, you may be putting in a lot of hours for minimal return. Working the most needed hours or providing something that is more niche should increase your income.
  5. Are you entrepreneurial? If being your own boss is appealing, gig jobs may be a great option. Working for larger companies as an independent contractor can allow you to focus on the work you love.

If you’re interested in learning more about the gig economy, join the DU Young Professionals on October 17 to hear about the benefits and challenges of working gig jobs. Register here.

By Cindy Hyman
Cindy Hyman Director of Alumni Career & Professional Development