The gig economy has been on the rise for several years, and many reports point to a continued trend in American workers taking on both side gigs and cobbling together a living from a hodgepodge of short-term work or longer-term contracted jobs.
Findings from Adobe revealed that as many as one-third of the 1,000 U.S. office workers they polled had a second job and more than half (56%) predicted we would all have multiple jobs in the future. The annual report from Upwork and the Freelancers Union found that more people than ever are choosing to freelance, up to 55 million this year, or 35% of the total U.S. workforce. As many as 81% of traditional workers they surveyed said they would "be willing to do additional work outside of [their] primary job if it was available and enabled [them] to make more money."
Faith Popcorn, CEO and founder of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, tells Fast Company not to overlook the impact millennials will have on the gig economy. The largest cohort in the workforce "inherited a bad economy, have little prospect of home ownership, and come bearing deep college debt," Popcorn says, so "the idea of one career seems increasingly untenable." She believes that automation and AI will only accelerate the rise of gigging. "Ironically, automations like self-driving cars will eliminate some jobs (i.e., driving for Uber), and give way to new forms of gigging yet undiscovered," she says.