What Gigs Offer Workers That You Don’t: Entrepreneurship Maybe

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By Genevieve Douglas

About a third of workers have side gigs, especially women, minorities, and people under 35. And knowing what draws them might help employers attract top talent in a competitive environment.

And it’s not just about the money, it seems. Workers are drawn in by other aspects of the gig economy, too.

“For some people, having a side hustle is a good opportunity to turn passion into profit or to make some money on the side. For others, they’re intrigued by the idea of being their own boss, deciding what to do, when to do it, and how much they will make. There’s flexibility in the gig economy, and that’s empowering,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, told Bloomberg BNA via email Aug. 9.

Approximately 32 percent of workers have side gigs in addition to their full-time jobs; 35 percent of women do so versus 28 percent of men, according to new research from jobs website CareerBuilder.

Workers under the age of 35 are more likely to have a side hustle (41 percent) than those over 35 (27 percent). By race/ethnicity, black workers (46 percent) and Hispanic workers (40 percent) are more likely than white (29 percent) and Asian (26 percent) workers to have a side job, CareerBuilder found.

Gigs Can Be Invigorating

Employers should take note of what gigs offer that they may not, to better attract and retain top talent, particularly diverse talent, Andrea Simon, a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 14.

“There may be a need for employers to become more agile, with innovative kinds of leadership and management that provides the flexibility and work-life balance employees crave,” Simon said. “The flexibility that the gig economy provides creates a happier workforce, and organizations have to dial in on how to make their workplaces attractive in this way.”

Women in particular are finding the gig economy is a rich environment for entrepreneurial opportunity, Simon said. Women are increasingly becoming entrepreneurs, Simon said, and the gig economy is making it easy for people to work where they want and how they want to achieve success.

Participation in the gig economy is growing so quickly that the average gig worker is no longer the stereotypical “outlier who can’t find a full-time job,” Simon added. Instead, workers who feel they need more opportunity, such as women and racial minorities, are finding a “better way to work,” she said.

The CareerBuilder study was conducted online by Harris Poll from May 24 to June 16 and is based on responses from 3,696 full-time workers across industries in the U.S., including 3,462 in the private sector.

Flexibility Not to Be Feared

Technology is prominently aiding gig economy entrepreneurial efforts, Scott Absher, CEO and co-founder of gig economy platform ShiftPixy, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 15. “Before technology put us on a level playing field, workers wouldn’t have had any knowledge about where these opportunities existed,” and now technology allows them to find these jobs. Women in particular are finding the gig economy to be an environment for entrepreneurial opportunity, Absher said.

But just because workers are pursuing side work doesn’t mean they want to abandon their full-time careers, CareerBuilder found. Sixty-seven percent of workers with a side hustle said they don’t want to turn their side gig into their day job. And when asked if they’re more passionate about their day job or side hustle, more respondents said their day job (42 percent) than their gig (32 percent) or neither (25 percent), according to the research.

Haefner also cited flexibility as a driving attracter of work in the gig economy. It’s “important to note that flexibility is greatly valued in the workplace,” she said. “Many companies fear that without a set schedule, employees will be distracted, not as engaged and less productive, but the opposite is often true. A trusting work environment breeds more-loyal employees and increases efficiency as long as there’s structure around it.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at gdouglas@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tony Harris at tharris@bna.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bna.com

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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