I’ve never been wholly comfortable with “gig economy” as an umbrella term. Too often it’s hijacked by those who want to paint independent workers as a new type of oppressed; in need of rescue from uncaring capitalism.
The reality is far from that, as successive research has shown. Independent working is most often a freely made choice.
Here’s an interesting article from Jon Younger on Forbes.com. Talking generally about adoption of the freelance economy model (is it as explosively disruptive as the hype suggests?), Younger makes an important distinction between types of freelance work:
It’s important to recognize two very different sub-categories: gig work and independent professionalism or what some have called solo-preneurship. As Michael Kearns and I pointed out in a recent report: “In the Gig Economy, customers are provided with on-demand access to broadly available and undifferentiated services. The ease of access and low cost is the differentiator, not necessarily the individual who provides the service. In the Talent Economy, the customer is actually buying the skill and expertise of the Talent – the platform is merely a “market maker” to paraphrase Arun Sundararajan and other pundits, that reduces the inefficiency of traditional employment and staffing markets, and enables the discovery of talent that is otherwise invisible to the customer.”
That’s an important distinction to bear in mind.