For the last couple of years, we’ve been seeing the gig economy as a trend of increasing significance, as the population of workers who either work side jobs or businesses (known as “side hustle”) or hold a series of part-time jobs continues to grow.
This year, with a new Administration that promises to bring back jobs to America, it may become more politicized. Our perspective is not political but merely recognizing a seismic shift in how American work, since many seem to prefer being in the gig economy (made possible by technology) rather than work traditional jobs.
In Dec. 2016, when we issued our list of top trends for 2017, TrendReport 2017, we went a step beyond just saying that the gig economy would be important. We also said,
“We need to more accurately define the gig and the sharing economies (i.e., Uber, which touches on both; as well as Airbnb) and to identify and track meaningful metrics, both to gain an accurate portrait of overall U.S. economy as well as develop appropriate policies regarding taxes, healthcare and social services.”
Today, in a article, the Wall St. Journal noted: “Counting Up Contractors Is a Tricky Business Government agencies and employers have difficulty tracking the numbers because many contractors are hired by one company to work for another.”
A follow-up article, that the Journal felt important enough to place on its front page, was entitled, “The End of Employees,” and noted that “Never before have big employers tried so hard to hand over chunks of their business to contractors. From Google to Wal-Mart, the strategy prunes costs for firms and job security for millions of workers.” Interestingly, the article did not refer to the “gig economy” at all but did refer to “TVCs—an abbreviation for temps, vendors and contractors (who) test drive Google’s self-driving cars, review legal documents, make products easier and better to use, manage marketing and data projects, and do many other jobs. They wear red badges at work, while regular Alphabet employees wear white ones.“
These are two of the first articles we’ve seen that discussed the point we think is crucial in terms of understanding how the gig economy works, what it’s impact is — whether you’re in a traditional job or a gigs — and how to structure our tax policy and health and other benefits.
Check out the WSJ articles because we do think understanding the nature of the gig economy is important for our country’s future, regardless of one’s politics.