Are Millennials failing to develop important work skills?
Many Millennials are gravitating toward the gig economy of temporary and freelance jobs, enabled to do so by the rise of sharing-economy companies such as Uber and the advent of powerful social media. Many who have taken this route say they enjoy being untethered from the traditional workplace and have little interest in permanent full-time jobs. Some observers say the 2007–09 recession and the soft economy that followed have pushed Millennials in this direction. Whether because of choice or necessity, the increasing prevalence of gig work raises the question of whether these younger workers are failing to learn the communications, leadership and teamwork skills that come from functioning in a more conventional work setting.
Some key takeaways:
The number of those working in the gig economy increased 60 percent between 1997 and 2014.
Millennials who expect to leave their jobs within two years exceed those who plan to stay for at least five years.
A wealth of social media apps and websites has sprung up to facilitate life in the gig economy.
Resources for Further Study
Ferriss, Timothy, “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich,” Crown Publishing Group, 2007. An entrepreneur shares tips and tricks for people to make money while working independently.
Schwartz, Morissa, “The Gig Economy: Your Road to Financial Freedom,” GenZ Publishing, 2016. A full-time independent contractor explains how Millennials can thrive in the freelance economy.
Hook, Leslie, “Year in a word: Gig economy,” Financial Times, Dec. 29, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Scheiber, Noam, “How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons,” The New York Times, April 2, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
Tolentino, Jia, “The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death,” The New Yorker, March 22, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
Reports and Studies
“The 2017 BridgeWorks 3G Report,” BridgeWorks, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
“The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey – Apprehensive millennials: seeking stability and opportunities in an uncertain world,” Deloitte, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
“America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011,” Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, Fertility & Family Statistics Branch, U.S. Census Bureau, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/
“Unemployment Rate,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
Hathaway, Ian, and Mark Muro, “Tracking the gig economy: New numbers,” Brookings Institution, Oct. 13, 2016, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Gig Economy Globally
D’Cunha, Suparna Dutt, “Why the Gig Economy Could Reinvent the UAE Workplace for the Better,” Forbes, June 9, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
Lowrey, Annie, “What the Gig Economy Looks Like Around the World,” The Atlantic, April 13, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
Price, Rob, “Sleepless nights and hospital runs: The struggles of parenthood in the gig economy,” Business Insider, June 6, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
Protections for Gig Workers
Gutman, David, “Judge temporarily blocks Seattle law allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize,” The Seattle Times, April 4, 2017, updated April 17, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
Heller, Nathan, “Is the Gig Economy Working?” The New Yorker, May 15, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
Knibbs, Kate, “Will Gig-Economy Workers Ever Have Benefits?” The Ringer, June 7, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad St., 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004
Legal organization that represents the concerns of independent contractors in the gig economy.
1775 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036
Nonprofit public policy institute that conducts extensive research on the U.S. economy.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
International consulting firm focused on financial growth.
441 Logue Ave., Mountain View, CA 94043
A freelance-hiring platform.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Postal Square Building, 2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20212
The federal agency that tracks job trends.
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, MD 20746
The government organization that collects and analyzes population statistics.
320 Pioneer Way, Mountain View, CA 94041
The original accelerator, it has funded more than 1,200 startups since 2005.