For businesses and workers alike, the New Year means new beginnings and new opportunities. To that end, participation in the rapidly developing gig economy is no exception. In fact, freelancers, side hustlers, and independent workers making up the gig economy now total nearly 60 million people in the U.S. alone. The gig economy workforce is currently growing three times faster than the traditional U.S. workforce, and businesses should not expect this trend to slow down anytime soon. By 2027, half of U.S. workers are expected to be freelancers.
I couldn’t help but be struck by two recent headlines which appeared to stand diametrically opposed in answering the question of who is driving the gig economy.
One headline from World Finance touted the driving force of the Millennials – “As more Millennials are choosing to freelance, employer must evolve to suit employees’ needs.” The tagline for the article then issued the following proclamations: “Millennials are going freelance in their droves. Companies will have to transform beyond recognition to lure modern workers away from the freedom of being their own boss.”
Over the past few months, many essays, blog posts, and articles have lamented over the apparent homicidal nature of Millennials. From brunch to wine corks, the “things” Millennials have killed is far-reaching. The formula is simple: pick a thing and then say “Millennials” have killed it. Mashable compiled a fairly thorough list of these such references. As a Millennial, I take some offense to this list, but that is another topic for another day.