“Gig Economy” may be one of those buzzwords you see or hear and have a loose understanding of what it entails.
A Gig Economy job market based on freelance, part-time and contractual work isn’t a new concept, despite the recent proliferation of a catchy label. However, this form of career has grown exponentially over the past decade.
From 2004 through 2014, independent contracting employment in the United States rose from 12% to 18%.
And as the world becomes increasingly connected through the internet, the Gig Economy should expand commensurately. Identifying the best part-time, freelance and contract careers requires an examination across several different industries. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2016: “Gig workers are spread among diverse occupation groups and are not easily identified in surveys of employment and earnings.”
Opportunities to work on a contract or freelance basis and make a great career of it are growing across a variety of sectors. Some are tied directly to the connectivity of the online workplace. Software and Web Developers are carving out increasingly fulfilling niches working on a freelance basis. Companies and organizations need an online presence, whether it be via website or app, yet may not have the budget for full-time staff.
Web Developers who provide contract solutions can command strong wages at around $31 per hour, the national median average. And an increasing number do so, with an estimated 1-in-7 Web Developers identifying as self-employed. Software Developers pull in a median pay of $48.41 per hour. Fewer Software Developers are self-employed than their Web Developer counterparts, with the freelance and contract staffers accounting for about 9% of the entire workforce. Multimedia Artists also factor into the online workplace, depending on the line of work.
Graphic design, for example, is an in-demand skill many hirers will seek on a temporary basis. Other forms of multimedia work, such a videography, podcasting, and animation also offer freelance opportunities for intrepid professional.
Roughly 13% of all Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians who identifies as self-employed. Through the digital workspace, a professional can contract her or his services from one location, yet work anywhere in the world at a given time.
Another promising career option with burgeoning opportunities to work anywhere, and everywhere simultaneously: Interpreter and Translator. Meetings held across the world, connecting people from different countries, can use programs like Skype to patch in Translators from any location. Working remotely is one of the possible benefits for some of the best freelance, contract and part-time jobs. Traveling’s an outright requirement for one: Delivery Truck Driver.
Working part-time as a Delivery Truck Driver may require going to specific destinations, and it keeps employees on the move all the time. Online shopping has helped facilitate the need for more delivery positions, which can be a great opportunity for supplementary income. Certain times of year contribute to the demand for certain part-time or freelance jobs. Delivery Truck Drivers are in the greatest demand around the holidays.
For contract Accountants, the New Year to Tax Day is the busiest time of year. Freelance and contract work has its advantages: flexibility in scheduling, staying sharp by taking on new projects, and the ability in some cases to work remotely might appeal to some professionals. There are risks to consider, as well.
Most part-time jobs and the vast majority of freelance/contract positions do not offer healthcare benefits – a primary concern for American job seekers.
A 2016 FastCompany.com study finds nearly 75% of those surveyed prioritize healthcare benefits over other perks, including remote work. Saving for retirement is also more challenging as most freelancers must finance their own 401(k).
Weigh the pros and cons when determining if a freelance, part-time or contract career path is right for you. The following wages and growth outlooks are culled from the BLS and reflect averages and projections across part-time, freelance and full-time positions.