Gig Work Meaning | What do People Mean by Gig Work?

Aug 5, 2021

gig worker displaying the meaning of gig work

There are a number of definitions for the word “gig”. While a gig is actually a fast narrow boat adapted for rowing or sailing, and historically was a light two-wheeled cart pulled by a horse, in more recent times gig has become common slang for a live music event. Derived from the word engagement, the term gig is thought to have originated from the 1920’s Jazz scene.

New “gig” meaning: Gig work meaning now encompasses a far wider section of the economy covering a variety of relationships between workers and employers including shift work, project-based workers, and independent contractors. Temporary workers are bought in to undertake specific projects which could be anything from food delivery to graphic design or computer science.

Gig worker meaning: A gig economy worker, sometimes known as a gigger or shifter, is anyone who works within the gig economy as opposed to being a permanent or full-time employee. This could be freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, or drivers covering many highly skilled and lower-paid professions. Independent workers may not have the job security of a full-time job but gig economy jobs can offer greater flexibility and work-life balance than is available to full-time employees.

Instead of working for a single employer, a gig worker will work for a number of different companies as short-term independent contractors providing on-demand services. They offer a contingent workforce that supplements a company’s permanent staff and can be called upon when additional support is needed. Projects can be large or small and could be anything from delivering

While working for a temp agency or making use of emerging digital platforms to find work for short periods of time isn’t the most traditional of career paths it is becoming more and more common as it provides benefits for both companies and workers. Information technology has also improved to the point where tracking project-based work can be done from anywhere and many positions including project manager roles and business management can be done remotely.

Understanding the Gig Economy

Understanding the gig economy is often as simple as replacing the idea that workers are paid a salary with the concept that they are paid per gig. Whether that gig is delivering a meal or parcel or completing a technology management project. Because of this, the gig economy is more adaptable to the needs of workers and companies, especially as clients and service providers often connect through online platforms.

Gig economy apps like Shiftpixy link platform workers to freelance job opportunities. We allow people to quickly and easily match their skills to freelance gigs meaning less time spent job searching for a gig job and more time to earn money.

The gig economy has been steadily growing with Forbes estimating that 36% of the US workforce have participated in the gig economy, equating to around 57 million people. Fluid gigs give gig workers more choice in when and where they work. With software development and cloud computing allowing a greater number of jobs and projects to be done from home.

However, there are pros and cons to gig work meaning gig life isn’t for everyone. Temporary workers generally don’t get the same benefits employees receive, such as health insurance and retirement provision. And unemployment insurance generally doesn’t cover gig workers who are unable to find work. Work is generally paid per project rather than per hour for gig employees meaning they do not always receive minimum wage. And there is generally no provision for vacation or sick pay, although there is a movement to change this as evidenced by the California landmark assembly bill that would give gig workers the right to holiday and sick pay.

Gig work does however provide a lot of benefits for both workers and companies. Shiftpixy allows companies to essentially share human capital dramatically reducing the stress of finding and keeping workers. Gig workers provide an on-demand workforce for companies and in return, they get greater flexibility and the ability to choose when they work making it much easier to earn money that fits with their lifestyle and other commitments.

Using the Shiftpixy online platform also provides a number of additional benefits including paperless onboarding, mobile access to shifts, and the ability to track time on the go as well as access to many of the same benefits available to permanent employees including health insurance.