By Maeghan Ouimet
Perhaps the largest force of change in the way we work today (aside from technology) is borne out of the gig economy. A lot has been said about the gig economy since its introduction following the economic decline of 2008. As of late: the headlines are mostly negative—pointing to gig economy companies as the “bad guy” for breaking laws and harming the industries they’ve disrupted. Despite this, the gig economy is beneficial to those who are employed by it. In fact, according to US News, 30 percent of American workers earned some form of income from gig work in 2016.
At the core of the gig economy is a vibrant group of innovators, self-starters, immigrants and veterans. We interact with these people daily, but rarely learn about their journey out of economic hardship or into the workforce for the first time (or back into the workforce after some time). The story of the gig worker is a vessel through which to explain the changing face of work.
We looked around and found that the awe-inspiring stories—like the woman who supports her artistic aspirations while completing tasks for TaskRabbit or the deaf man who struggled to find a stable job before driving for Uber—were lacking from today’s narrative. For companies in the thick of the gig economy, these are stories not only of redemption, but also of the future of work. Companies like Postmates, Uber and Airbnb can take back the narrative that’s turned against them through in-depth reporting and thoughtful storytelling—building trust and acknowledgement with consumers, potential employees and maybe even the press.
This month, Original9 decided to move beyond the noise in this still-growing industry to meet the people who make this new way of work wheel turn. Through data insights, original reporting and audio stories, we present the human side of a changing (and more empowered) workforce.
Welcome to the good gig.