What Types of Technology Have Helped the Gig Economy Grow
Over the past two decades, the evolution of technology has been helping organisations and their employees redefine various aspects of work. The increased accessibility to technologically advanced solutions has also empowered the gig economy and enabled a lot of freelancers, remote workers, and independent contractors to work on their own terms, contributing to the flexibility, adaptability, and growth of the industry.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what types of technology have helped the gig economy grow, along with their impact, challenges, and future forecasts regarding advancements.
The gig economy and its significant growth
Ever since its humble beginnings as a lifestyle-changing concept, up until the current status of becoming a global economic force, the gig economy owes much of its growth to various technological advancements.
The gig economy, which is characterised by short-term and flexible work arrangements, is hardly relying on digital platforms and mobile technology. By facilitating technological advancement, individuals are now encouraged to leverage their skills and expertise to break away from traditional employment structures and step into the roles of freelancers, independent workers, and entrepreneurs.
Moreover, technological advancement is also removing geographical barriers, allowing individuals from diverse backgrounds and locations to participate in the global marketplace. This type of inclusivity has not only expanded financial and growth opportunities for workers but has also diversified the talent pool for businesses seeking specific sets of skills and expertise.
The types of technology that have helped the gig economy grow
The growth and sustainability of the gig economy are hardly impacted by the technological advancement we have experienced, especially in the past decade. Below in this article, we’ll be exploring the types of technology and how each of them is influencing this shifting landscape, so keep reading.
1. Mobile technology and apps
Mobile technologies, smartphones, and apps are revolutionising the gig economy and making gig work more accessible and manageable than ever. Gig workers can connect with clients from anywhere in the world, manage projects, and even receive payments, all from the palm of their hands.
The following are some of the most popular gig economy apps offering opportunities for independent workers:
Uber, which is one of the greatest gig economy companies, offers a platform and an app that connects independent workers with passengers in need of transportation. Uber greatly impacts today’s gig economy, providing on-demand work opportunities for drivers and enabling them to set their own working schedules and work on their own terms.
Lyft is also an app that uses a similar concept to Uber, offering flexible work opportunities in the transportation industry. The Lyft app also connects individual workers to passengers, allowing workers to offer driving services and receive payments conveniently through the app.
Airbnb is among the most popular gig economy apps, providing work opportunities for individuals in the hospitality and lodging industries. Airbnb adopts a revolutionising concept, allowing gig economy workers to monetise their properties while also offering affordable and convenient rentals for travellers.
2. Online platforms and marketplaces
Online platforms and marketplaces serve as the ultimate hubs where freelancers and independent contractors can connect to clients for flexible and short-term work arrangements. Such marketplaces feature a range of functionalities, allowing service providers to showcase their skills and expertise and clients to find the perfect match for their project needs.
Online marketplaces are revolutionising the gig economy by opening a vast of collaboration opportunities for both freelancers and businesses and revolutionising the way both parties work. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular online platforms and marketplaces.
Fiver is among the most popular online platforms enabling freelancers to offer services and clients to find affordable solutions that fit their requirements. Fiverr features a user-friendly platform and an accessible pricing model, facilitating gigs in many niches such as digital marketing, software development, design, and others.
Upwork is also among the most popular online marketplaces that offer flexible work opportunities for freelancers and independent contractors. Upwork also features functionalities such as milestone-based payments, hourly tracking, as well as a dispute resolution system, making the platform transparent and secure for both service providers and clients.
TaskRabbit features a unique concept of connecting skilled workers with individuals in need of services, such as cleaning, handyman services, moving assistance, furniture assembly, and others. TaskRabbit and similar platforms influence the gig economy by providing flexible work opportunities for individuals looking for jobs or additional income while also offering convenient and affordable solutions for individuals in need of services.
3. Payment processing solutions
The advent of digital payment solutions has opened a new era of efficiency and transparency for everyone involved in the gig economy. In today’s gig economy landscape, the range of convenient payment processing solutions is huge, providing seamless financial transactions between service providers and clients.
Modern payment trends and solutions are breaking down all the barriers of traditional payment methods, featuring swiftness, transparency, and global accessibility. Besides the variety of services and tools that are practical for both parties, payment solutions can be easily integrated with many popular gig economy platforms and apps for simplified work operations.
The following are some of the most popular payment processing solutions facilitating streamlined transactions between gig economy workers and their clients:
PayPal stands as a pioneer online payment platform, allowing freelancers and clients to make swift and secure transactions worldwide. With its widespread global presence and easy integration with a lot of gig economy platforms, PayPal stands as a go-to choice for many individuals who work in the gig economy.
Payoneer is also among the preferred payment solutions in the gig economy, especially for individuals engaged in cross-border transactions. With Payoneer, gig workers can get access to a prepaid card and receive payments in multiple currencies, making it a very convenient choice for freelancers who work on a global scale.
3.3. Native Teams
Native Teams is an all-in-one platform offering global payment solutions for the gig economy. By using the Native Teams platform, freelancers can get access to multiple tools and features, including requesting global payments, invoicing global clients, a multi-currency digital wallet, and a Native Teams physical or virtual card that can be used for secure online and offline transactions.
4. Social media and networking
When working in the gig economy, visibility is key. With the gig economy expansion, social media platforms have transitioned from being spaces for social interactions to becoming essential tools for marketing, networking, and even securing gigs.
Not only social media platforms are convenient for personal branding and marketing purposes, but they also provide a lot of opportunities for networking and building professional connections. Below, we’re exploring the most popular social media networks used by gig economy professionals.
LinkedIn is a social media platform providing professional networking and job opportunities for individuals working in the gig economy. The platform allows users to build comprehensive professional profiles, showcase their skills, experiences, and achievements, and connect with industry peers, contributing to their active professional presence.
Instagram is the ultimate hub for freelancers with a focus on visual content. The visual approach allows users to curate a creative portfolio and showcase work through images and videos, which can be very beneficial for designers, photographers, and artists.
Besides showcasing skills through visualisation, freelancers can utilise hashtags and ads to drive engagement and build a unique brand identity within the gig economy.
YouTube is a dynamic platform that can be beneficial for gig workers who can leverage the power of video content. Through this social platform, freelancers and independent workers can share tutorials, insights, or other valuable content related to their expertise and services.
Whether it’s for educational purposes, showcasing skills, or offering services, YouTube is a great space where freelancers can establish themselves as authorities in their respective fields and expand their professional network.
5. Cloud computing and data analytics
Cloud computing is the optimal solution for accommodating the flexible and dynamic nature of the gig economy. Such platforms and solutions are enabling gig workers to easily access and store data and manage day-to-day tasks without the need for extensive physical hardware.
Modern cloud computing and data analytics solutions can be easily integrated with popular gig economy platforms, allowing greater flexibility and efficiency while providing a centralised work environment for both gig workers and clients.
The scalability and accessibility of cloud computing are empowering gig workers to be more efficient, while data analytics contribute to informed decision-making. As such technologies continue to scale and evolve, their impact on the gig economy will also extend, providing new opportunities for innovation and efficiency.
6. AI and automation tools
Artificial intelligence and automation tools are transforming the gig economy and revolutionising the way many individuals and platforms operate. The coordination between human expertise and artificial intelligence introduces revolutionary levels of efficiency and productivity and defines the future of many aspects of the gig economy, as follows:
- Job matching algorithms – Many gig economy platforms utilise AI algorithms to analyse the skills, experiences, and preferences of gig workers in order to match them with suitable projects effectively.
- Streamlining administrative tasks – AI tools are taking over daily administrative tasks, such as scheduling, invoicing, and project management. This allows gig workers to focus on their core jobs and enhances their productivity.
- Improved decision-making – AI tools provide predictive analyses, historical data, trend forecasting, and demand for specific skills, enabling gig workers to make more informed decisions about the projects they pursue and how they position themselves in the gig marketplace.
- Workflow optimisation – AI and automation tools analyse patterns and recommend improvements in work processes, including project management, collaboration, and communication. This optimises workflows and ensures that gig workers operate efficiently and effectively.
7. The impact of 5G and improved connectivity
As 5G technology unfolds, it opens a new era of possibilities and marks a significant shift in the gig economy. 5G technologies provide more reliable connectivity, meaning gig workers can collaborate more efficiently and expand the scope of remote work without physical barriers:
- Faster communication – 5G technology brings a new dimension of speed to diverse networks, allowing gig workers to facilitate swift communication, quicker decision-making, and seamless interaction.
- Real-time data transfer – 5G’s real-time data transfer capabilities ensure seamless information flows, allowing individuals to share project updates, conduct market research, deliver completed tasks, and operate with minimum delays.
- Improved access to resources – With the accessibility and high-speed nature of cloud-based apps and storage, 5G technology is ensuring that gig workers can enhance their access to resources valuable for efficiency and decision-making.
Challenges and future outlook
While technological advancements have undeniably fueled the growth of the gig economy, they also impose a lot of challenges that demand thoughtful consideration.
Common issues such as job insecurity and lack of employment benefits, ethical concerns regarding automation, regulatory frameworks, and the dynamic competition in the marketplace may hinder the workflow of many individuals in the gig economy.
Looking ahead, the gig economy’s future should rely on a balance between fostering innovation and implementing effective regulation. Addressing challenges through technology advancements, transparent practices, and regulatory frameworks will contribute to the sustainable growth of the gig economy and open more opportunities for both service providers and clients.
To sum up
The gig economy shows a continuously growing trend, and technology advancements are playing a major role in its expansion. The rise of the dynamic gig economy nature truly goes hand in hand with modern technology, shaping the future of global and flexible work arrangements and contributing to the expansion of modern trends even more.