One-third of millennials have joined the “gig economy” and have chosen to work as entrepreneurs, according to a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives survey.
The gig economy is a labour market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs. More professionals have chosen to forego the typical nine-to-five jobs to take on gig-type occupations including contracting or freelancing.
This video highlights the growth of the gig economy and the types of gig occupations.
“If students were coming out of school with good-paying jobs available to them, the gig economy wouldn’t be as appealing to them,” said Christopher McIntosh, the president of Gigit Marketplace. “The job market is very competitive, there is a lack of new jobs and they are looking for more flexible workdays. So millennials are interested in the gig economy.”
Gigit Marketplace is a social platform allowing for organizations who are seeking individuals to perform gigs to connect with freelancers or contractors looking to do gigs. Through his work, McIntosh has discovered that millennials make up the largest portion of the gig economy.
The millennial generation entered the workforce during the recession and they witnessed their parents lose their jobs. Millennials found themselves unemployed or underemployed for a long period following graduation. Their careers have been unstable as opposed to an upward ladder in the workforce, so they needed to create a new path for themselves.
By the year 2020, millennials will make up 45 per cent of the Canadian workforce as freelancers, independent contractors and on-demand workers.
Greg Wise, the founder of Greg Wise Web Design, has specialized in web design, web maintenance and email marketing for over 10 years. Wise, 26, said he quit his traditional job because he wanted to focus on his personal goals.
“I wanted to get out of the nine-to-five grind because I was finding myself getting demotivated and unhappy,” Wise said. “When you work on someone else’s dream, it causes you to sacrifice your own dreams. I was finding that was happening for me. The longer you do that, the less you are willing to put into it. I didn’t want my demotivation to become somebody else’s problem.”
Julie Boyer, a leadership mentor for Wake Up with Gratitude, has been an entrepreneur for 11 years. Boyer assists clients in building an optimal wellness plan and provides leadership development and mentorship to help customers build a business. She said that an advantage of working in the gig economy is flexibility.
“After getting married and having a child, the flexibility has allowed me to be a work-from-home parent with a career where I can still contribute to society,” Boyer said. “I have the ability to design my schedule and I am responsible for my own success.”
Participants of the survey also said that disputes can be an issue when working gig-type occupations.
“When you receive work, some people are not pleasant to work with,” Wise said when asked about the disadvantages of working in the gig economy. “There are always clients that are never satisfied with the work you have provided and cannot be pleased. Many people are looking for someone to take their frustrations out on or can never be happy.”
“Sharing economy” or on-demand service economy? (2017) Policy Alternatives. Retrieved from https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/Ontario%20Office/2017/04/CCPA-ON%20sharing%20economy%20in%20the%20GTA.pdf