Women in the gig economy is redefining what it means to have a job in 21st century America. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 3 million Americans formed what are called ‘non-employer’ businesses between 2003 and 2013. While more current statistics are not yet available, it is a safe bet that the total number of participants in the gig economy has continued to grow.
In her groundbreaking book Lean In, Facebook’s Chief Operations Officer, Sheryl Steinberg noted that nearly half of all women are leaving corporate America to focus on their families. However, this does not mean that women are dropping out if their careers; as the gig economy is a perfect option for women who want to leverage their skill and experience while pursuing other opportunities.
Beyond the independence and the potential to earn more money, there are four other reasons why women are making the most of the gig economy. These include the ability to remain sharp, satisfaction, flex work, and lastly diversity. So, let’s take a deeper look at how the gig economy is helping women across the country.
1) Staying on Top of Your Skills
The decision to drop out of the corporate world to raise a family is a not one which should be taken lightly. Unfortunately, it is choice which millions of women are forced to make. As if dropping out of the rat race was not bad enough, the other challenge is what it can do to one’s skills.
This includes the knowledge built up over time and the opportunity to stay on top of industry trends. Freelancing is a great way for a mom to keep sharp while they are also focusing on their family. When it is time to rejoin the workforce in earnest she will not be 4 or 5 years behind, instead she will have current experience which will allow her to jump back in and compete as if she never lost a beat.
2) Work Satisfaction
If you are a working mom, then you know there is never enough time. But the flip side for millions of American women is that dropping out of the workforce often leaves them unsatisfied. There is good reason for this, they have developed skill and experience which when put to good use can make them feel like they are part of something.
This is something that all of us want and freelancing is a great way to achieve this, even if it is on a limited basis. Now if your kids are grown and you want to take it to the next level, then freelancing might be the perfect way to start your own business. In fact, many woman have started out like this.
3) Work Flexibility
It is undeniable that one of the biggest draws of freelancing is the possibility to work when you want and where you want. But another plus is the fact that freelancing means taking on different types of assignments and the variety of work available allows women to take advantage of their unique perspective. Even if you are a graphic designer, it could be as simple as working on an ad campaign one day, to consulting with a brand on how they should remark their entire presence.
Another way women are using flex work to make the most of the gig economy is to join with other women (or men) to create teams to handle certain assignments. This sort of flexibility allows everyone to bring together the best possible people for a task.
4) Work Related Diversity
This brings me to my final observation – diversity. Working with different people in different situations not only promotes better teamwork and understanding, it also helps everyone involved to realize the importance of workplace diversity. This benefits women everywhere, and which is a good thing.