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The Rise of the Gig Economy: What Does It Mean For You?

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Jerome Eger
In recent years, the corporate world has undergone a significant transformation as the gig economy has gained popularity. Companies are increasingly turning to contract workers for help. With an increasing number of people doing freelance work and contract projects, the traditional workplace is changing and becoming more flexible.

What is the Gig-economy?

The term "gig" originates from a social jargon that refers to live musical concerts. They planned their schedules and took on numerous show initiatives while providing music at a given time and are not limited by location. Non-permanent occupations are rising and increasing in the gig economy, a phenomenon in the economy and employment structure.
Rather than hiring full-time employees, businesses turn to freelancers and independent contractors to perform their tasks. Short-term contracts, freelance work, and part-time employment are becoming increasingly prevalent.
The internet and technology are responsible for more than just new business creation and more accessible work and communication. Technology's rapid growth affects people and businesses. Working in an office is no longer essential, and full-time employees are no longer required.
Three primary drivers power this rapid growth of the gig economy:
  • The emergence of new businesses that use technology to their advantage
  • Financial strains on traditional businesses
  • An increasing need to balance work and personal life

The Unstoppable Rise of the Gig Economy

Before the pandemic began, the Philippines ranked 1st among the fastest-growing global gig economy markets. There are probably more than 1.5 million freelancers in the country. Freelancers lead the youth movement in Asia, 82% of which are 35 years old and below, compared to only 47% in North America.
Unlike full-time employees who work for one employer, freelancers often work for multiple clients and do various activities. Those who work solely as freelancers make more per hour and are happier with their lifestyle than those working full-time for a firm.
Some of the top gig sites that freelancers use for their "gigs" are Fiverr, Upwork and People earn through these sites by allowing them to present to the client and chosen assignments. Aside from the client, gig jobs provide you the feeling of being your boss. Some persons begin at a relatively low price, but as their experience grows, they can increase their rates.

How Global Players Play in the Gig Economy

The Philippines is at the forefront of a global gig economy revolution. A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute found that more than 20% of the Philippine workforce engages in independent work, making it one of the countries with the highest percentage of gig workers globally. This number will only grow as technology makes it easier for people to connect and do business online.
The top players in the gig economy are global players who have taken advantage of online platforms to build successful businesses. These entrepreneurs have found ways to monetize their skills and talents by providing valuable services to others. They earn substantial incomes from their work, proving that the gig economy is a viable way to make a living.
However, the gig economy is still relatively new in the market. There are no standardized systems and processes, making it hard for financial institutions and employers to gather and verify gig economy employment and income data.

Challenges in the Gig Economy

While workers in the gig economy enjoy benefits such as working from home and having a flexible work schedule, they still face several challenges that full-time regular employees don’t. These challenges range from getting employers or clients to presenting their credibility through employment information to applicable institutions.
Moreover, freelancers don’t enjoy mandatory employee benefits like insurance, which employers handle. They have to handle their PhilHealth, SSS, Pag-IBIG by themselves! This presents another problem: when you’re a freelancer, it will be more challenging to qualify for credit cards, loans, and the like, because they are not employed traditionally.

SmileAPI: The Solution Provider

The gig economy is booming and with good reason. It offers flexibility, independence, and opportunities for growth that are hard to find in other work arrangements. However, there are some challenges that come along with the gig lifestyle – like finding a way to access banking products or financial services.
However, there's one company that is leading the charge in helping to solve these problems: Smile API. As the one trusted source of employment and income data in Asia, Smile API can help gig workers get access to the banking products and financial services they need, simultaneously helping financial institutions tap underserved markets!
Contact us today to learn more about how our API can benefit your company.
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