A better understanding of the gig economy starts with better understanding the workers.
Here at WeGoLook, we work with over 30,000 gig workers from all walks of life. Today, we want to delve a bit deeper into the profile of the 'gig worker.' Which, by all accounts, is the fastest growing job category.
The gig workers that conduct Looks for WeGoLook, drive their cars with Uber, rent their home with Airbnb, deliver food with Grubhub, or take on tasks with TaskRabbit, are not a monolithic entity. There is much that differentiates different gig workers.
And this is what we want to discuss today. What gig worker archetype are you?
While gig workers come from nearly every background, there’s a handful of archetypes most can be divided into. These models categorize gig workers by their motivations, as well as the way they use on-demand platforms to make money.
The Institute for the Future has recently released a new report titled Voices of Workable Futures: People Transforming Work in the Platform Economy.
The report, which interviews gig workers of a variety of ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and locations, concludes that there are seven primary gig worker archetypes.
Here are the seven archetypes that most, if not all, gig workers in the United States fall into.
7 Gig Worker Archetypes
The goal of the Institute for the Future report on the gig economy is to better understand the motivations and desires of gig workers.
This deeper understanding allows this new economy and the platforms that operate in it to be prepared for a workable future for all.
The report, which was also reviewed in-depth by Fortune Magazine, concludes there are seven primary gig worker archetypes.
Those archetypes are:
- Part-Timer – Adds gig economy jobs here and there to supplement steady income from traditional employment.
- Consultant – Enjoys the opportunity and freedom available in the gig economy, versus their old career as a white-collar worker.
- Freelancer – Highly values the ability to choose what type of assignments they take on that match their personal ideologies. Freelancers do not typically occupy traditional 9-5 employment.
- Full-Timer – The closest thing in the gig economy to a traditional employee. This gig worker focuses all their efforts on a single app for their full-time income. Think of a full-time Uber driver.
- Re-Entry – Utilizes gig economy apps as a means of generating income while taking care of an outside problem, like a personal health issue or a recovering loved one.
- Entrepreneur – Has an entrepreneurial vision that on-demand gigs help supplement or play a larger part in. Consider a startup founder who works WeGoLook Looks on the side to supplement their startup business.
- Hustler – Seeks an alternative source of income, not tied down to a conventional job, through the gig economy that suits their flexible and unscheduled lifestyle.
Motivations of Gig Workers
The Institute for the Future report not only breaks down gig workers into the archetypes outlined above, but it also explores the motivations behind each group.
These are extremely important for us to understand, given that the future of work is freelancing.
These motivations are largely monetary, but not always in the traditional sense. Many gig workers not only want to generate income, they want to do so in a fashion that’s different from holding a traditional job.
In other words, they want to work on their terms, not someone else's.
That brings us to the other most commonly stated motivation. This report shows that many gig workers highly value the flexibility and convenience of their unconventional form of employment.
These workers are also learning new skills and deploy them in new, technologically-savvy, ways.
Most gig workers see strong value in the services they provide, while also building skills and knowledge they can use in the future.
This new breed of workers utilizing the gig economy don’t fit into the same set of categories and archetypes as the traditional workforce of the past.
The industrial era employment distinction of 'worker vs. contractor' is obsolete.
The gig economy is attracting a whole different set of workers. At the same time, it’s rapidly changing how we think about working.
In our opinion here at WeGoLook, the gig economy is shaping workers just as much as workers are shaping it.
The Institute for the Future states that they’ve never seen such a dramatic transformation of the American workforce before.
Neither have we. And we're all-in on this amazing trend in how we work and consume.