The American workforce has evolved over time and we’re currently experiencing one of the biggest changes yet – one that is making the U.S. government scratch its head and wonder what to do next.
What I’m referring to is the on-demand economy, which is also called the gig economy. This is a general term for the growing group of independent contractors who work ‘gigs’ instead of regular full-time jobs. The on-demand economy includes freelancers and consultants who contract out their work as well as workers who do service-based gigs like drive for Uber or make money by renting out their home with sites like Airbnb.
The on-demand economy touches many of us in the small business realm. I’m sure some of you reading this are on-demand workers yourselves, while others may have hired on-demand workers for anything from getting a ride to getting help on your business website.
A recent Smart Hustle article explores what we know about the on-demand economy today. It includes:
- Statistics from a recent Intuit survey which looks at this part of the American workforce including who they are, how they like their work and what challenges they face.
- Government initiatives to learn more about this group in terms of labor laws and classifications.
In terms of government interest, the article points out that the U.S. government is questioning whether these workers should be classified as ‘independent contractors’ or not. I see many sides of this:
- Independent contractors are important for our economy.
- Yes, some companies might be abusing or misusing the classification.
- However, independent contractors often WANT to be contractors because of the freedom it gives them.
- Either way, the government should be VERY careful about reclassification.
The article gave me a lot to think about in terms of the on-demand economy and the ever-changing American workforce. I urge you to check out the article – then come back and let me know your opinions in the comments.