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Is the Gig Economy Overrated?


It’s impossible to escape news of the growing gig economy. Upstart ride-for-hire firms such as Lyft and Uber now employ armies of smartphone-connected freelance drivers to help people get around cities for less than traditional taxi businesses, who are hampered by red tape and higher employee costs.

Taxi firms are outraged, but this model has spread rapidly to other services. These days, there are apps that bring a vast variety of goods and services directly to your door step. The rise of Uber, the most prominent gig employer, has even given birth to a new word: “uberization.” A quick web search turns up countless articles boldly declaring that today we stand on the verge of mass “uberization.” In fact, we’ve already seen this model disrupt finance, the economy, and nearly everything else. Some even predict that by 2020, over 50% of Americans will work in the gig economy.

So are we moving to a world where millions of people set their own schedules, clocking in and out on their smartphones? Will employers become reliant on armies of freelancers? Let’s take a closer look at the numbers..