According to Intuit, the company that makes TurboTax, on-demand workers now account for 34% of the U.S. workforce — and that number is only expected to grow. The data includes everyone from traditional freelancers and independent contractors, to those who use platforms like Uber, Lyft and Instacart to generate income. It’s a slice of the job market known as the Gig Economy and there’s a good chance you or someone you know is already part of it.
For some it’s a way to earn extra income, others are drawn to the flexible schedule. Many are gig economy workers because there aren’t traditional jobs in their field. Without question, on-demand work is here to stay. Even if you’re in a cushy job that more than pays the bills or have no plans to enter the workforce, it’s good to keep a pulse on this growing sector — not just as a worker, but as an on-demand employer as well.
Gig Economy Trends For 2018
- Video — The “Netflix era” has driven more web video than ever. According to SmallBizTrends, internet video will account for 80% of all internet traffic globally by 2019. It won’t just be big media companies! Consumer smartphones, artificial intelligence (AI), and ultra easy tools are making video creation more accessible. Resumes and personal branding will increasingly include your own “sizzle reel” that highlights your skills and personality. Watch for this in 2018 and beyond.
- More Regulation — You’ve likely heard about the legislative battles against companies like Uber and AirBnB. It’s going to continue in 2018. Traditional companies like hotels and taxi businesses have regulations, taxes and other restrictions that on-demand platforms have circumvented. The government is taking notice, but this isn’t necessarily bad for the gig economy. On-demand companies are starting to offer new concepts like portable benefits and universal basic income to keep regulators happy while creating new structures for workers.
- Rising Competition — As the on-demand workforce grows, competition for jobs is elevating. Gig economy workers will need to raise their bar. Start working out your mindset to compete, leverage new tools and platforms, tighten down your brand. Show up on point and prepared, and increase your personal branding and marketing. Make sure you link your unique value proposition to everything including how you can benefit employers.
- Soft Skills — Character traits, communication skills, emotional intelligence and other “soft skills” are red hot for on-demand workers in 2018. There are no more intermediaries — you wanted to cut out the “middle man,” but that means you’re now the buffer between yourself and everyone else. Workers who demonstrate solid soft skills are going to be who get the job.
- More Tech Advancement — The new era of the on-demand workforce has leveraged tech like websites and apps, and that’s not about to stop. AI, virtual reality (VR), bitcoin, blockchain — imagine if Lyft created its own currency for its platform, or you trained for projects using VR. Right now these concepts are new to the gig economy, but workers should anticipate new technologies and be ready to adapt and adopt as innovations rise in the market.
I’ve also got a new book about the gig economy coming out in 2018! You can preorder on Amazon here.