Explore the Ups and Downs of the Gig Economy

The rapid rise of temporary work arrangements, collectively known as the gig economy, has offered people flexible working arrangements and a way to make extra money with the push of a button. This rising sector of the American economy has been lauded and denounced with equal fervor: Proponents say the gig economy creates additional opportunity, while detractors claim gigs represent a specific type of exploitation.

Regardless of perspective, gigs are disrupting longstanding industries and changing the relationship between worker and employer. As the gig economy becomes more prevalent and spreads across more industries, the waters have become muddier. Here’s a look at what the gig economy means for workers and companies as well as how to land a “good gig.”

Gig work comes with a set of pros and cons for workers. To start, gig workers benefit by gaining more latitude over their schedule and the type of work they create. That independence is refreshing for some workers, said Steven Soares, senior vice president of technology at professional staffing service KForce.

“For those working in the gig economy, this lifestyle provides more flexibility in that those working a ‘gig’ can work where they want, how they want and when they want,” Soares said. “This appeals to many, including our large millennial workforce.”

The other side of the coin isn’t so glamorous. Gig workers also run the risk of inconsistent employment, meaning they must either chase down their own freelance work or hustle in the on-demand space. [How will automation impact workers in the gig economy?]

“When working in the gig economy, sometimes you do not feel the stability that you have if you were to work for a company,” David Zamir, founder of home service gig company Nana.io, said. “You do not know if you will have daily jobs, and this uncertainty is not for everyone.”

Another drawback, Zamir said, is that gig workers have to keep track of their own taxes.