The “gig economy” sometimes gets a bad rap. Clickbait news headlines focus on labor disputes and AirBnbs invading your favorite cities. But, the reality is 35% of Americans are freelancers. And, guess what? They’re not all working for Uber. Despite perceptions, the gig economy (sometimes called “the talent economy”) is more varied and professional than most people think.
It’s time to break down a few of the most pervasive myths around the gig economy.
The gig economy is about side hustles like Uber, Etsy, or DoorDash.
Gigging is a rewarding career choice for experienced professionals.
According to one study, 32% of US gig workers have a highly specialized skill. For highly skilled professionals, working as a freelance consultant for organizations can bring higher pay (and more rewarding work) than traditional employment. In fact, according to the same study, professionals who make over $100,000 a year are the fastest-growing part of the gig economy.
At Salo: Consulting for Salo isn’t a side hustle, it’s a career choice. Our consultants are senior professionals in HR, finance, and accounting. Many of our consultants say their pay and benefits at Salo exceed their compensation at previous permanent roles.
The gig economy is for people who can’t get another job.
Freelance work is the top choice for top talent.
Many professional consultants are at the very top end of the talent pool. With such sought-after skills, organizations want the pros’ help however they can get it. For these top experts, consulting brings a variety of interesting and fulfilling opportunities they couldn’t get from a single corporate role. Additionally, each consulting project adds new knowledge and systems to a consultant’s background—increasing their value with each new experience. This leads to higher career satisfaction (and it’s a win for their clients, too).
At Salo: From former c-suite execs to experts in specific areas, Salo’s consultants include in-demand professionals with skills that are requested again and again.
Gig workers are mostly millennials or Gen Z.
People of all ages (including senior professionals) choose gig work for the flexibility.
There’s a wide range of talent choosing to “gig”—from college students to retired executives who want to keep adding value to the workforce. That’s because the gig economy work is about choice and flexibility and every generation wants that, not just millennials and Gen Z. Gig workers have the freedom to choose the type of activities they prefer to do; and when, where, how much, and with whom they want to work.
At Salo: Many of our consultants left corporate jobs because they wanted flexibility—whether it’s to spend time with their kids, travel the world, or simply choose the kind of work they do.
Gig work consists of one-off and short-term jobs.
Gig jobs offer a new kind of career stability.
As the coronavirus epidemic shows, no company or career is 100% safe. Companies can restructure or reduce jobs at any time. And, with offshoring, outsourcing, and relying on contractors; companies are increasingly reliant on running their business with fewer full-time employees. Being a consultant can be a high-growth opportunity for skilled workers—making them more valuable to (permanent or contingent) employers.
At Salo: One of our top accounting consultants was in a full-time role but didn’t feel appreciated for the many hours he was working. After starting his first consulting project for Salo, he decided he couldn’t go back to a traditional corporate role. Ten years later, he’s been gigging steadily—still loving his consulting projects and working significantly fewer hours than he ever did in the corporate world.
Gig workers don’t get benefits.
Benefits for gig workers are on the rise.
In 2019, California passed a law that required contract workers to get benefits comparable to employees. Other similar laws are being proposed in many other states. And, consultants that work with firms, like Salo, already get benefits similar to FTE roles in addition to all the perks of gig work.
At Salo: We treat our consultants like full-time employees, offering benefits like health insurance, 401(k) retirement plans, and paid time off. Then, there are the added benefits—like the ability to take summers off. One of our consultants took a whole year off to take care of his newborn daughter, then jumped back in right where he left off.