Working in the gig economy


  • Business
  • Saturday, 06 Apr 2019

The gig economy has become popular in the last five years as digital platforms create efficient marketplaces to facilitate direct connections between customers and service providers.

The abundance of online job platforms has made it easier for people to freelance and carve out their income in the gig economy.

Compared to five years ago, today there are people who garner income from renting out spare bedrooms on Airbnb, collecting fares from Grab and selling stuff on platforms such as Lazada and Carousell.

It is no secret that traditional models have been disrupted by the gig economy.

Millennials are becoming increasingly drawn to the gig economy lifestyle, which is all about freelance gigs and short-term jobs where “giggers” are free to choose where, when and how they work.

The so-called “gig economy” term came into the employment vocabulary only recently and has become the catchphrase for everyone from Grab drivers to freelance professionals.

 

It was reported by McKinsey & Company in its “A labour market that works: Connecting talent with opportunity in the digital age” report that the gig economy could add US$2.7 trillion per year or 2% to the global economy in 2025.

In Malaysia, according to the World Bank data, about 26% of the Malaysian workforce are freelancers and that the number is growing, as more people are opting for more flexible working hours.

While the gig economy is expected to continue to grow, businesses and governments are scratching their heads to grasp the long-term impact of this kind of jobs.

Some gig economy organisations, especially ride-sharing and food-delivery services, have raised public concerns on skills and retirement plans.

It is worth noting that although the gig economy freelancers are offered independence and flexibility in working hours, they are not entitled to company-sponsored retirement.

As the gig economy matures and finds its place alongside more traditional companies, some argue that the gig economy or freelancing will not replace traditional jobs.

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