What does Gig Stand For… in Business?

Jul 29, 2021

Man staring at a poster board with many descriptions of GIG

What does gig stand for and what does it mean? You’ve probably heard the word gig and quite possibly in a variety of different contexts. The term gig can refer to a live performance or a type of boat. The meaning of gig has also changed over the years, from the historical definition of a horse-drawn carriage to today being more likely to refer to a gigabyte or job.

Definitions for gig include:

  • A light two-wheeled carriage that is pulled by one horse.
  • A fast, lightweight, narrow boat that has been adapted for sailing or rowing.
  • A musical engagement.
  • A single live performance by a musician, group of musicians, comedians, or other performers.
  • A job, usually for a specified time.

Gig is also used as internet slang for the word gigabyte, a unit of digital information or data storage capacity. 1 gigabyte is roughly equal to a billion bytes.

G.I.G is also a fairly commonly used abbreviation. Gig abbreviation could mean, God is Good, Get in Gear, Growing in Grace, or any number of other things depending on the situation.

With so many gig definitions it is vital to be aware of the context when choosing the appropriate definition of “gig”.

What Does Gig Stand For in Business?

The term gig in the context of work engagements is thought to have come from the jazz musician scene in 1920’s America. The term gig was used as slang chat for the word engagement. As often happens with slang words the gig abbreviation became common language and came to refer to many aspects of the performance industry. Today gig means live performance and people working in the performance industry will still refer to engagements as gigs.

The Modern Gig

In more recent times the term gig economy has been coined to cover a much wider range of jobs and industries than just performance with the term gig covering any short-term engagement from driving and delivery gigs to graphic design projects, website building, and copywriting. The gig economy is characterized by short-term contracts, freelance work, and project-based work, much of which is increasingly made available to gig workers through online platforms.

Types of Gig Work

Gig workers are often known as giggers and the work they do is sometimes referred to as gigging. Broadly gigging means having paid work but not being employed in the traditional sense of the word. Gig workers get paid for the work they do, such as delivering a meal or designing and building a website, rather than being paid by the hour or receiving a regular salary.

Gig Economy

The gig economy is part of a wider sharing economy that has benefited massively from advances in technology. Technological advances have made it easier for goods and services to be acquired, provided, and shared on a peer-to-peer basis. Airbnb is another example of the sharing economy where online platforms are used to link providers and users. In the same way, that platforms like Shiftpixy link providers and users of labor in the hospitality industry, Airbnb is linking people looking for a place to stay with available properties in the area.

These platforms facilitate all aspects of the engagement from onboarding workers and performing background checks to finding the best matches and collecting feedback. These platforms also take care of payments and other administrative tasks making the transaction between user and provider as streamlined and simple as possible. As the platforms and the technology behind them get better and better, the more scope there is for expansion of the gig and sharing economy and the benefits that will bring.

Benefits of Gig Work

The gig economy is seen as a good thing by many and is certainly a rapidly expanding sector of the economy but there are concerns that gig workers are not given the same benefits, security, or protection as employees. Sometimes gig workers may work as independent contractors primarily for a single company, and yet despite working the equivalent of full-time hours they are not entitled to holiday pay, sick pay, minimum wage, or other benefits and protections that would be guaranteed to them if they were employees.

Gig workers benefit from more flexible working hours in comparison to traditional roles. As well as the opportunity to expand their skill set working in a number of areas depending on their interests and expertise. Companies benefit from a greater talent pool, costs based on projects rather than salaries for full-time employees, and flexibility to respond to a rapidly changing and dynamic marketplace.