Guest: Kyle Kensing
Presenter: Neal Howard
Overview: Kyle Kensing, Online Content Editor at CareerCast, talks about the “Gig Economy” and who the Gig Worker is. A Gig Worker refers to someone who works in a non full-time capacity or on a contractual basis. This type of modern workers have the freedom in their contracts to work for more than one company or organisations at the same time.
Neal Howard: Welcome to Business Radio talkers.fm. I’m your host Neal Howard, glad that you could join us. Now, maybe you have or maybe haven’t read a discussion or heard of this thing called the Gig Economy. Now while the terminology has been around for a while and has become increasingly en vogue, the concept isn’t new at all. Our guest today is returning to talk with us, Mr. Kyle Kensing online content editor at Career Cast. Welcome back to the program Kyle.
Kyle Kensing: Thank you so much for having me.
Neal: Well when you were here before, we discussed a little bit about the changing face of employment. Today we’re going to talk about this gig economy. First of all, what is the Gig Economy and who is a gig economy worker?
Kyle: So the gig economy, these days refers to anybody that works in a non full time capacity. So that’s more or less that’s usually meant to refer to people who work on a contract basis, either for a temporary period of time or on a fluctuating schedule but really it refers to anybody in the economy who isn’t working the typical 40-hour work week for one organization.
Neal: So we’re not talking simply a person that’s working part-time at an auto parts store or maybe greeting at Walmart part-time. It’s someone who’s actually on a contract, maybe doing one gig or maybe several gigs in order to make ends meet?
Kyle: Exactly, yeah. A lot of times jumping around from organization to organization, maybe sometimes juggling multiple projects at the same time which a lot of times can be necessary if you do decide to go down this kind of career path.
Neal: Is this always someone who’s self-employed?
Kyle: Not necessarily because you can be retained by an employer for a pretty lengthy length of time but if you have some freedom in your contract to work other jobs with other organizations if you don’t have any sort of limitations on who you can work with, you’re not competing with your primary employer – that really can include those kind of workers.
Neal: What about the traditional perks and benefits that go along with the traditional Scenario? You’re working forty hours, you get health care, you get 401k, all of these things. Is that something that you have to take care of personally or are there some situations where the gig employer takes care of those things for you or offers them at all?
Kyle: Yeah, that’s one of the biggest if not the single biggest pitfall about following this kind of model because it can give you some flexibility in terms of where you work, you have a little bit more freedom to work remotely, the kind of hours that you work when you’re not commuting and that sort of thing. But more often than not, you’re going to be left to handle those things like insurance which is typically more expensive if you’re handling it on your own. There’s part of an employment benefit and retirement as well where you don’t get that employer matching that a lot of companies get to their full-time employees, 401k that rules over and that kind of thing. So there really is a major risk to weigh alongside with the potential reward.
Neal: Is that in your opinion would you say the greatest risk or challenge when it comes to a being or deciding to become a gig worker? Are there some other things that maybe we should look at before we decide to undertake this alternative form of employment?
Kyle: Yeah, I think that would be the primary thing that you would want to consider but the other to consider as well right now and ever since about 2012 or so the job market has improved dramatically since coming out of the Great Recession. But one of the things to still consider is if you’re just working on these part-time contracts where you’re not being retained full time, if something happens, the economy turns down, it can be a little bit more difficult to find this kind of work. And if you are in a situation where an organization has to downsize, if you’re not a full-time employee they’re not typically not going to owe you any kind of severance or that sort of thing. So that’s another thing to consider too is just keeping abreast of how stable the job market is going to be in particular in your field of expertise.
Neal: We all that the economy, the job market go hand-in-hand. Say you’ve been a gig worker since shortly after college graduation but something happens and you decide to get back into the traditional work environment – what do traditional employers feel? How do they feel about people who’ve been gigging for quite a while?
Kyle: Yeah, that’s a great question because there’s a lot of different challenges with working that full-time 40-hour work week that if you don’t have on your resume might be a deterrent. At the same time, having that kind of gig experience can be really beneficial for jumping on somewhere full-time because a lot of times you’re going to have to wear a lot of different hats in order to maintain a regular employment as a gig or self-employed kind of freelance worker. So that gives you an opportunity to really build up your skillset and I think that can be a great benefit when you’re looking for a full time job as well as building up multiple references. If you’re able to work well with several different employers over a short period of time, you’re able to get say maybe eight references at a time when somebody else gets maybe two.
Neal: Well what would you say are some pretty decent jobs for independent workers or gig workers?
Kyle: So with our report at careercast.com it’s a pretty wide range in some of the very best. With the improvements that have been made in telecommunications for the last twenty years and the fact that now you can video conference with an employer across the world and it comes in clear and you’re able to communicate as if you’re sitting right next to that person. There’s a lot of jobs that are in software and tech and business so you’ve got something like an application software developer, you got marketing managers, you’ve got multimedia artists and you’ve got public relations and web developers. Now these are all jobs where you can work remotely and work for multiple different organizations all at once and be self-employed. Now some of the others that are pretty interesting like a carpenter and plumber – these are two that are really in high demand right now with construction coming back from the pretty low depths that hit during the Recession and these are great gig jobs because there’s not enough of these highly skilled trained workers in construction to meet the demand. So if you’re a plumber, you can work on multiple different projects all at the same time and command a pretty good rate.
Neal: When it comes to folks who aren’t ready to retire yet, they’re say 50, 55 or something like that and they decide to try out this gig employment scenario – what are the odds that people may or may not want to hire somebody more mature than say the Millennial?
Kyle: I think if you were approaching that retirement age, this might actually be a pretty solid plan long term as long as you have invested in your retirement or 401K for your previous three decades or so of experience. Now if you’re still needing to build up that retirement fund, this might be especially risky proposition if you’re a little bit older but if you are somebody who is planning on working another 15 years or so, this is a good way of being able to pick your hours, pick what you’re doing and apply your expertise a little bit more without necessarily having to worry about corporate downsizing, that sort of thing where if you’re making a certain amount that’s guaranteed with that set experience, you don’t have to worry about a layoff because you’re just working on these per project kind of basis.
Neal: Well we’d like to go online and learn some more about the gig economy, about how to become a gig worker and to do a little research as to whether or not it might be right for our listeners. Where can we go online and get some more information?
Kyle: Absolutely. Check out careercast.com, that’s going be our story here for a little while and we also have advice on just general career news and seeking employment and interview tips so you can check all that out at careercast.com as well as job listings.
Neal: Kyle always a pleasure man, thank you for taking the time and hoping to talk to you again about this work-a-day world.
Kyle: Absolutely, my pleasure.
Neal: Kyle Kensing, online content editor at careercast.com. You’ve been listening to Business Radio talkers.fm, I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio can be found at talkers.fm