Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Gig Economy

April 26, 2016 YourEncore Marketing

This Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Commissioner’s Corner Blog was completely dedicated to the Gig Economy.

If you're not familiar with the term, here's what the Gig Economy is:

It refers to the growing trend for many in the workforce to work short jobs (gigs) or multiple jobs as a contractor instead of working for a traditional employer.

What was exciting to me is the BLS plan to conduct a survey in May 2017 with specific focus on gathering data. This is a clear indication that the Gig Economy is here to stay.

The BLS admits that it does not have current data on this growing phenomena and clearly sees it as an important area to focus on. In fact, the last survey was conducted in 2005, not long after YourEncore was founded. At the risk of bragging, YourEncore was (and is) at the forefront of this important workforce trend. I can tell you that I believe the new survey will show a marked increase in workers 45 and over in the Gig Economy. In 2005 the majority of contingent workers (BLS includes independent contractors in that rank) were under 25.

YourEncore was founded on the premise of enabling companies like Proctor & Gamble and Lilly to harness the knowledge assets of their retirees, and we have never looked back. We didn’t know we were launching the Gig Economy back then, but we recognize our role in it now. Things have changed since we started and we are seeing rapidly growing numbers of our Experts who are in their 40’s and choosing to be in the Gig Economy rather than working at a big company.

Many people aren’t that comfortable with this approach. I can understand it; you think that you’ll need to worry about where the next gig is going to come from. Well, I have some more interesting facts from the BLS. The first is that on average people will have 11 jobs before the age of 50. Things have changed since the days of working for an employer for 30 years. I never counted before and was shocked to find out that I have had over 11. Now I know some of you are thinking, “Wow! Mike can’t hold a job!” But as I look across each job, they all served as the building blocks to what I believe is my value in the workforce, not something that can be attained in a shorter or less diversified career. The reality is we are almost always looking for the next gig even if we have a traditional job.

The BLS also states that 82% of Independent Contractors prefer their current arrangement over working for an employer. In addition, with the significant decline in pensions and the improved health of older workers, the need and the ability to work after retirement or to an older age is necessary and possible.  My take away is that you can actually have just as (if not more) fulfilling work in the Gig Economy.



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