Quick, think of a Gig economy example – any role that immediately springs to mind when you think about Gig workers. Many people will immediately mention freelancers working in areas like digital marketing, from content writers to video editors or web designers. This is a narrow view to take of the Gig economy.
Gig economy is all about hiring labor for a specific task for a short period of time. A gig can range from “hiring” a courier for a 10 minutes delivery or a caregiver for 3 days.
In recent years, the gig economy has been booming since gig workers finally have the infrastructure to guarantee a high volume of work. Due to the nature of gig work, gig workers do small jobs for smaller amounts of money, so they need a steady influx of incoming work so that they can earn well.
Gig economy companies have become a reality partly due to the rise of digital marketplaces that match gig workers (sellers) with people in need of their services (buyers), together with payment applications that enable fast money transfers.
In reality, the Gig economy and the idea of Gig worker marketplaces has been a paradigm shift for so many industries, and has solved a market issue across almost all verticals under the sun.
This article is part of our guide on Gig economy.
Gig economy examples
Not convinced yet that ? Check out these Gig economy examples ranging from healthcare to hospitality and beyond to get a better understanding of how this economy impacted us all.
Where would we be without Doordash or UberEats? We’d certainly be a lot hungrier, without the ability to quickly tap out a food order from our phones. This industry has opened up a lot of opportunities for the restaurants and retailers themselves, who used to rely on buyers coming physically in-store. Especially during COVID-19 – the Gig economy seriously kept the lights on. The cost to the business is minimal, as when these deliveries are made, it’s not the restaurant or grocery store itself that sends workers to your door – it’s Gig economy workers who sign up to the platform to take on one-off and ad-hoc jobs as the middle man (or woman).
With food delivery, Gig workers rely on restaurants to provide the product itself, while they simply offer the delivery. In other cases, the service is completed entirely by the Gig worker, who is offering their time or ability in place of a physical product. Think about Uber, Lyft or Gett – where you need a ride from A-B. Users download the app and can immediately have access to thousands of drivers, vetted and monitored by the centralized platform, and with easy payment options through the marketplace, too.
In some professions, Gig workers can build trusted relationships with individuals for regular one-off tasks. Care.com is a great example of a site that helps to build these networks. A million Gig workers are signed up to the platform, available for work such as babysitting and childcare, senior caregiving, pet sitting, tutoring, and even housekeeping. As users can browse reviews and see ratings, this adds legitimacy and trust to even that first engagement – and they can then continue to reach out via the platform if they are looking for the same service again.
Hospitality and travel
Airbnb is another example of a Gig worker marketplace which might not immediately spring to mind under this category. It’s all about supply and demand. Homeowners have spare rooms or holiday homes lying vacant, and people are looking for affordable places to stay in specific locations for business or leisure. Airbnb works because it brings the two parties together, supporting them with logistics, payment processing, and communication. While these Gig workers aren’t performing a task – the act of providing hospitality is a form of Gig work in and of itself. This type of Gig work is booming right now. Another example is furniture rental marketplaces, projected to be a $10B market in a decade’s time.
Digital freelance services
Finding professional talent using the freelance model is probably what you initially thought of when we said, “think about an example of the Gig economy”. This is what sites like Fiverr are known for – allowing businesses to connect to freelance talent that can quickly fill their own skills gaps and help them to scale up for a short period of time. Of course, freelance marketplaces are not only business-focused. Sellers offer every skill under the sun, from building you a customized Minecraft house to writing your best man speech. You’ll even find one or two Wordle coaches on there, but no-one claiming Nerdle prowess yet if you’re looking to grab yourself a niche.
Before homeschooling became a necessity, the Gig economy had already launched incredible opportunities for education online. Two examples are VIPKid, an online platform that connects Chinese students with fluent English-speakers to improve their English speaking skills, and Chegg – where tutors can help students with their homework one-on-one for $7 per chat. Sessions start from as little as 15 minutes, allowing Gig workers to work in the most flexible way possible. While Chegg is a Gig worker marketplace, it has augmented its offering with practice exams, work checking, and on-demand tutorials to provide a more holistic service. This is great for the buyers and the sellers, ensuring more people sign up and they have access to an increasing number of students.
Another misconception about Gig workers is that the Gig economy is primary for low-skilled workers. Even industries like healthcare in which employees are highly skilled and where organizations are usually traditional in their hiring methods are benefiting from the paradigm shift of the Gig economy. Nomad Health is an online platform which connects freelance physicians and nurses with hospitals in need of extra staff. Trained professionals can pick Gigs by role or location, and make good money while working abroad, or trial a new location with ad-hoc Gig work that allows them to be financially and professionally flexible.
The broad applicability of the marketplace concept
The sky is very clearly the limit when it comes to the Gig economy, as an increasing number of people look for the ultimate flexibility and control over when and how they work. While some Gigs will have a low barrier to entry, others will demand highly trained talent. Certain Gigs will offer the opportunity to engage with clients for longer-term or repeat purchases, while Gigs like Uber are a one and done kind of service.
What do all of these very different kinds of Gigs have in common, though? The reliance on marketplaces, which bring together buyers and sellers, add legitimacy and transparency, and manage complexities such as administration and payments. As the Gig economy flies the nest in an increasingly wide number of industries – it’s marketplaces that can be found in every example, ensuring that it can soar.