Updates from the Ultimate Gig Team
The past year has been very different for most of us. As we have adapted, we sincerely hope that each of you has been able to adjust and stay safe as well.
Our focus on the gig economy and the research we were conducting continued. We completed the manuscript for the Ultimate Gig book, which is now in the final review stages with the publisher. We expect it to be available to the public in March 2021. The book will provide a comprehensive look at the gig economy. It includes brief testimonials and stories about those familiar with gig work and guidance for those seeking to select their gig of choice, perhaps their ultimate gig.
California's Prop 22 Passes
For those of you who like to follow news related to the gig economy, we were personally delighted to see that Proposition 22 passed in California, which prevented the state from classifying gig workers as employees. Such classification would have put the burden of providing employee benefits on companies that were never designed to hire employees. The revenue shared with gig workers has enabled a new form of work and the opportunity to work in accordance with the time available. This flexibility is very appealing to both men and women who are looking for freedom and flexibility in how work can be accomplished.
The Safety Net Needs Innovation
While we don't favor classifying gig workers as employees, we do support gig workers being provided with safety net products, such as affordable health care products, liability and other insurance, and savings and investment instruments similar to 401(k) programs. Gig workers need affordable access to such products, but the solution is not to force gig-providing companies to give micro-enterprise participants the same benefits provided to employees.
Employee benefits are built into the profit margins of companies that choose to conduct business under a traditional model that includes a rigid structure for employees, who are expected to work at a specific location for a predetermined number of hours. Entrepreneurs have always been attracted to freedom, flexibility and the opportunity to work without traditional restrictions. Entrepreneurs take on risks that employees do not incur. Micro-entrepreneurs are no different.
Our position is based upon the business model gig-providing companies make possible. Most gig-providing companies are, in fact, technology-based companies that use technology to make it easier to participate in a channel of distribution that enables people from all walks of life to be the connection between the provider of a product or service with the consumer of a product or service. From our point of view, this is reason for applause.
The recent research conducted by the Ultimate Gig Team reveals that most gig workers have access to health, insurance, and savings and investment tools through a spouse or partner who works in a more traditional format. Our research confirms what others have been consistently stating: the gig economy is composed primarily of those who seek work on a flexible basis, not a full-time basis.
What is required from those who provide the safety net of products and services that gig workers need and desire is innovation. Those who want to work their gig or multiple gigs are micro-entrepreneurs. Over 40% of the traditional workforce had already chosen to work a gig to compliment and increase personal and household income. Traditional wages increase at rates of 2% to 3% per annum on average; however, a gig enabling the earning of a few hundred dollars per month in incremental income could be the equivalent of giving oneself a raise that might equate to a raise of 15% to 20% or more.
The magic in the previous statement is: the gig worker chooses the type of work they desire from a bevy of opportunities and how much time will be invested in the work. Perhaps the state of California missed something in the original thinking that gig workers should be classified as employees? A few gig-providing companies came together to defend their business model. Collectively, they pledged over $200 million to their own defense fund to keep their gig workers classified as independent contractors.
The California situation will result in new learning and a better understanding of the incredible and positive opportunities gig work provides to people who simply want to do their own thing on their own time and receive fair compensation for their investment of time.
More To Come
The gig economy will continue to redefine the definition of work, and people from all walks of life are the beneficiaries. COVID-19 has become our challenge worldwide, and it is also redefining how we look at work and life. As we close another year, a unique and challenging year, we look forward to our reflections on 2020. We expect the gig economy to grow overall and become an even more integral component of the global economy. This is why it is labeled the gig economy.
As we now prepare for the book's introduction, you will also note that our website will be updated to focus on the Ultimate Gig book and Ultimate Gig resources that we will make available through an annual subscription.
May your holiday season be most enjoyable and safe.