Gigging it in the free world

The gig economy is gaining traction, for better or worse. Who needs benefits or job security when you can work on a high wire?

Alec BruceAre you weary of your reliable job? Do your paid vacation, company pension plan and full medical coverage leave you cold? Are you pining for the sort of precarious work that only self-employment can promise?

Well, friend, you’ve come to the right place.

Here, at GigsRUs, we won’t bore you with bromides about workplace security, dignity and other horse hockey that, frankly, lull lesser beings. No sir!

We’re a jobs board with an edge so sharp you could cut an artery. Take a gander at one of our recent postings:

“Got a PhD? Got a GPA so high that the folks who give out the Nobel Prizes think your too damn good for them? Fuhgeddaboudit! You want ‘flexible’ hours. You want to wear a nifty uniform. You want to answer the phone at 2 in the morning. You want $12.50 an hour. Am I right?”

Absolutely, because our clients know that what you really crave is the challenge only daily threats of personal ruin and imminent bankruptcy actually offer.

We also know that you’re not alone in this great, undeveloped greenfield we dearly call ‘the Atlantic Canadian economy.’

In the Atlantic region, more and more people of every age and background are choosing to get with the part-time job market. They’re ‘gigging it’ like trapeze artists drawing each breath as if it’s their very last. That’s how much they cherish a little something we like to call ‘freedom.’

But don’t just take our word for it.

According to the latest labour force assessment from Statistics Canada, between March 2018 and April 2019, the number of exciting, death-defying part-time jobs in Nova Scotia grew by 6.9 per cent, compared with an increase of only 0.5 per cent in sleepy, tedious full-time positions.

Over the same period in New Brunswick, the part-time rate soared 12.6 per cent, while the full-time measure dropped like an anchor, by 1.9 per cent. Meanwhile in Newfoundland and Labrador, part-timers gamely swelled the employment ranks (5.2 per cent) as full-time knobs rolled over (2.2 per cent) in their beds.

Even BMO Wealth Management is giggin’ it.

“Over time, the labour market has shifted from one characterized by stable or permanent employment to a ‘gig economy’,” the venerable Canadian financial institution reported recently. “This type of staffing model allows an organization to fill skills gaps by hiring on a temporary, on-demand basis. These are not the ‘temps’ of the past; instead, they are short- or long-term contracts for personnel ranging from blue-collar light-industrial workers to highly skilled IT, engineering, accounting and HR professionals.”

Then there’s this from Peter Swaniker, founder and CEO of scheduling and time-tracking company Ximble, writing in Forbes Magazine earlier this year:

“Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 55 million people in the U.S. are ‘gig workers,’ which is more than 35 per cent of the (American) workforce. That number is projected to jump to 43 per cent by 2020.

“Millennials, the generation credited with disrupting everything from housing to marriage, are gravitating towards gig work for the promise of greater work-life balance. Boomers and other generations on the brink of retirement are drawn to gig work because it brings in a little extra income without a major time commitment.”

Hell, even governments are getting into the act. Last year, the Business Development Bank of Canada – a federal Crown corporation – wisely advised its clients to consider using temporary workers, especially those who are willing to work remotely. That way, private sector employers can pocket the money they’d otherwise waste on things like cubicles, break rooms and indoor plumbing.

So, friend, what’s stopping you from diving into the pool of precarious employment? After all, what do you really have to lose?

I mean, you know, apart from just about everything.

Troy Media columnist Alec Bruce is a Halifax journalist who writes about business, politics and social issues.

© Troy Media


gig economy, employment

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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