COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on remote work life, clearing space for the gig economy to take over.
Many workers have recently found themselves unemployed or under-employed due to the lockdown and are turning to the gig economy to make up lost income.
Sales, in particular, is seeing a huge jump in freelance work, with 15% of the total job market consisting of open sales positions. Of those positions, 10% are contract or part-time sales roles.
Sales enablement, in particular, has been growing year-to-year at a rate of 2.35%.
We, at Stable.work, are currently studying the impact of COVID-19 on the job landscape. We’re going to look at how the gig economy is expanding, and how Sales and sales development are on track to expand — especially now under these circumstances.
What Is the Gig Economy?
Simply put, the gig economy is the name given to the rising trend of people working freelance or for short-term contracts.
Most people have heard of the dominant players in the gig economy, Upwork, Fiverr, Uber, and Lyft.
Freelancers from Upwork, the largest of the freelance platforms, typically earn $21 per hour. Uber drivers net an average of $25 per hour, and Lyft drivers can make up to $35 per hour, not including tolls, insurance, and other associated costs.
Compared to the earning potential of freelance sales professionals, those big gig players have some catching up to do. Electronic component and product manufacturing sales professionals, for example, can make more than $200,000 annually.
Even sales professionals taking a safer route — with more employable positions selling computer systems design — still clear more than $100,000 annually.
Gig Work: The Good
Despite workplace automation futurism preying on the public’s fears concerning the gig economy, skilled gig work is proving to be increasingly popular among workers and businesses alike.
For self-disciplined, focused individuals who don’t need a supervisor sitting down the hall to keep them on track, skilled gig work can offer a variety of benefits. Not only can they work comfortably from home, they can set their own hours and choose whether or not those hours fall into a traditional workday.
In addition to the flexibility of time and space, gig work also offers physical and mental health benefits.
Obviously, right now, working from home is keeping everyone safe from contracting coronavirus. But working from home also increases employee happiness and productivity.
Whether remote workers find they’re eating healthier, controlling their room temperature better, moving their desks to a sunny section of their home, or taking advantage of frequent access to the outdoors, working from home offers a multitude of health benefits.
Beyond the control of one’s schedule and environment, gig workers can also leverage an almost unlimited earning potential.
The rates for consultants and freelancers are often much higher per hour than their salaried counterparts in the same industry.
Plus, gig workers can protect themself from economic downturns and minimize the risk of being laid off by diversifying their work, as well as their clients.
Gig work doesn’t just benefit workers, though. Businesses can save on the large overhead of maintaining employees, their equipment, and their necessary office space.
Gig Work: The Bad
For low skilled gig work, there is one big challenge in making a decent living — namely, outsourcing.
Many companies outsource jobs to India, the Philippines, Poland, Spain, among many others. And while time zones, accents, and cultural differences may limit results, North American gig workers still have to compete with a labor market willing to work for a lot less money.
Even local gig work, such as Uber driving, which is immune to outsourcing, isn’t safe. Automation is always an impending threat.
The antidote to offshore outsourcing, as well as to automation, is skilled gig work. Onshore, skilled freelancers — like salespeople — are safe from outsourcing because they both literally and figuratively speak the same language as their customers and their coworkers. They provide customers a familiar experience that is hard to get from offshore employees.
Finding work as a skilled gig worker can be difficult. Luckily, platforms like Stable.work, Fiverr, and Upwork are there to help by connecting skilled gig workers with the companies that need them most.
Gig Work: The Future
As everyone looks forward to COVID-19 exiting stage left, those who have been forced by circumstance or prompted by curiosity are exploring the options the gig economy brings.
For skilled gig workers, especially sales professionals working on a contract basis, the potential benefits are huge.
Enter stage right and step into the future. Invest in yourself during this uncertain time in an uncertain world.