Millennials and the Gig Economy
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the Committee on Small Business heard testimony from a panel of experts and small business owners on the relationship between millennials and the gig economy; specifically, the increasing number of millennials pursuing careers in the gig economy, and how this trend is impacting small business.
“This notion of short term, contractual workers dates back centuries, but has been re-envisioned with the inclusion of technology,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “The gig economy is characterized by the use of technology as a means of connecting workers to employers. Digital platforms and mobile apps have been created to not only to provide these connections, but also to provide low cost marketing and basic business tools to those working within the gig economy.”
Getting into the Gig Economy
“Interestingly, there is a growing shift in the types of jobs generated by small businesses. While the number of firms that employ full-time workers has remained relatively flat, nonemployer businesses (also called solopreneurs) have been increasing,” said Ms. Elizabeth Dougert, Director of Communications at SCORE, in Herndon, VA. “There has also been a marked increase in the use of gig economy workers, with businesses using contractors and part-time workers to fill key business roles.”
“One of the best things about running my own business is the freedom,” said Mr. Ryan Morris, Former Marine and Owner of Ruff House Dog Training in Stafford, VA. “I don’t have to abide by traditional hours. If there is an “American Dream,” it’s being able to do something you’d do for free and be paid for it. I’ve had so much fun working for myself, by myself, without restriction, I never want to go back to the traditional 9 to 5.”
“Studies show that those who are part of this fluid economy feel empowered, independent, happy, and creative, and companies embracing it are also benefiting, saving time and money. Hiring freelancers allow them to scale when needed as well as be able to hire experts for specific projects, reducing training costs and onboarding time,” said Ms. Anne Kirby, Founder of The Sweet Core in Lancaster, PA. “Millennials, born roughly between 1980 and 1996 who are now ages 22-37, hold first place with 47% freelancing, which is more than any other generation.”
Given the millennial generation’s deep understanding of emerging technologies, it is not surprising that many chose to pursue non-traditional careers in the gig economy. The gig economy offers millennials the freedom and flexibility they desire, without the headache of searching for clients.