Although artificial intelligence (AI) often comes to mind when we think of the future of work, there is also a vibrant conversation about the structure of work and where work is going to be completed.
The gig economy refers to a work context that consists primarily of short-term independent freelance workers contracting with organizations or selling directly to the market. The gig economy has become an increasingly popular topic of conversation with estimates placing the number of gig workers in the U.S. economy between 19.1 to 56.7 million individuals. Related to the future of work, this topic was recently identified as #4 on the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) 2019 Top Ten Workplace Trends
The newest white paper, “The Gig Economy: An Overview and Set of Recommendations for Practice,” fits the broader discussion about the future of work. Research suggests future work is going to be highly individualized with more talent entering the “gig economy” and choosing–and in some cases, being pushed–to work independent of traditional organizations. We can attribute this sudden eruption of the gig economy mostly to online marketplaces where organizations of all sizes, as well as individuals, can post short-term, project-based work and workers can either, depending on the site and level of skill required, immediately take the project or independently bid on it.
Written by SIOP member Emily D. Campion, assistant professor at Old Dominion University, this white paper provides an overview to help organizations and individuals understand the gig economy and answers several pressing questions related to the gig economy. It offers a set of recommendations for organizations seeking to utilize this form of employment as well as for individuals who are currently employed or seeking to be employed with the gig economy.