The ‘Gig Economy’, dominated by freelancers and individuals seeking out short-term work, is an employment market that has recently emerged. Additionally, described as the ‘Sharing Economy’ or the ‘On-Demand Economy’, it’s a new business model (Heller, 2017) that benefits from the current upsurge of crowdsourcing and outsourcing, making the ‘Gig Economy’ a phenomenon that would be persistent as well as predominant in the near future. Rather than complying to the accustomed recruitment process of set working hours, standardized wages and sick pays offered by a hiring business, the workers are categorized as independent contractors, getting paid for each ‘gig’ they accept. The Freelancers union and Upwork in 2016, surveyed several traditional full-time workers, and found out that, as many as 81% said they would “be willing to do additional work outside of their primary job if it was available and enabled them to make more money.” They also found out that more people than ever are choosing to freelance, up to 55 million this year, or 35% of the total U.
S. workforce. “The gig economy is small but growing. Clearly, interest in these roles is on the increase. They appeal to workers who would like to work part time around other responsibilities, or as a supplement to their regular full-time job. In some cases, workers are trading in the regular 9-to-5 altogether and working a gig job full time on their own schedule,” (Mamertino, 2016)This rise in the numbers is giving organisations the opportunity to employ multiple temporary employees and have them undertake tasks and services, that generally would be done by one or two permanent employees.
The ability to outsource the freelancers at subsidised rates, as well as the potential to crowdsource, appeals to all the different varieties of businesses, particularly the entrepreneurs and the small scale start-ups. Usually these freelancers are hired through online platforms, and rely on a network of those very freelancers, who set their own schedules; for example, sites like Odesk, Fiverr and 99Designs. These online platforms, though beneficial while creating the buyer/seller market place, raise numerous ethical questions on taxing and data security.