The Representative

India's Youth News Tank

The Gigantic Growth of The Gig Economy

4 min read
gig economy

ADVANCEMENTS IN THE MOBILE APPLICATION ECOSYSTEM HAS TO LEAD TO THE CREATION OF MILLIONS OF JOBS AROUND THE WORLD. BUT WHAT ARE ITS IMPLICATIONS & FUTURE PROSPECTS? HERE’S WHAT.

As we move closer to a new digital and autonomous era, the evolution of jobs and the work we do will be unavoidable. It seems like the changes are occurring at an unprecedented rate. One of the most obvious ones is the rise of the gig economy.

WHAT IS THE GIG ECONOMY?

Simply put, Gig work can refer to freelance and contractual work which can be done on the side. It usually refers to part-time work done by people who want a bit of side income to support themselves & their family. The rise of applications has lead to the creation of this type of work. According to a survey conducted by Mastercard (the American finance giant), the gig economy in the USA alone is estimated to be around a whopping 455.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2023!

THE BIG PLAYERS

Every industry has those companies that are destined to dominate it in the near future. However, at a nascent stage, the gig industry is muddled by hundreds of apps that provide a divergent working opportunity for everyone. The jobs on offer are widely distinct ranging from the common food delivery work to ones offered to data scientists! (CrowdFlower) as well as from cab drivers to stand in queues to delivery grocery home (Instacart). Applications are simply on the lookout for voids where there is a requirement to complete a semi-skilled or unskilled task. They go on to create platforms that simply connect the providers i.e. the workers & the recruiters. The company building the best user interface & having the most users usually emerges as the dominant player in the respective sub-category or niche. The fact that major players like Amazon have entered the gig economy validates its growth potential.

ADVANTAGE EMPLOYEE

The main benefit of working in the gig economy is flexibility. You get to decide your own working hours, accept reject offers on the go, seek alternatives instantly, and work on as many apps as you want! So you can be an Uber driver for a day & a Uber Eats delivery guy the next. It provides a golden opportunity for the lower middle class to supplement their income in a safe & secure manner. This type of flexibility can be a boon for working mothers & students. Another benefit is the ease with which jobs can be secured. As the demand for such apps increases, so would the demand for such workers.

ADVANTAGE EMPLOYER

However, it’s not all smiles in the gig economy. Uber’s refusal to provide employee benefits to its drivers has set a precedent for the industry. Workers get no pension, no paid leave, no perquisites and no fixed income. In short, these are the crux issues of the informal sector. Another problem is over-crowding. The pandemic has seen witnessed tremendous job losses. In order to pay the bills, more & more people are turning to the gig economy.

Another future issue would be technological advancement. Companies like Amazon have already secured permission for use of drones & robots to complete deliveries. Autonomous cars are being developed by Zoox & Tesla who will replace millions of cab drivers around the world. The future looks bleak as profit-hungry companies are on the lookout to reduce costs & fast track supply chains by replacing humans with machines.

PARTING THOUGHTS

  • Atleast in the short to mid run, Gig economy can be a good avenue for people to earn a living. The immense flexibility & decent pay can be a very attractive proposition.
  • With regards to the introduction of drones & robots, the ball is in the government’s court. So far, the United States is the only country to approve commercial use of droves for regular delivery. Other nations around the globe will have to decide where they stand with regards to such corporate practices.
  • As technology advances, it becomes more & more affordable. The price which seem absurd & exorbitant today will be affordable tomorrow. hence, autonomous cars will absolutely be cheaper in the future boosting their adoption for commercial & personal use.
  • Improved internet accessibility to more & more people in developing companies will skyrocket both users and workers for such apps thereby leading to regional versions of global apps.  For example in India, we have Ola- an indigenous rival of Uber. 

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