Perhaps you have heard or read discussion of the “Gig Economy” lately. The terminology has been increasingly en vogue in recent years, though the concept itself isn’t new.
Employees working on a temporary contract basis, on-call, or as independent contractors account for 3.8% of the workforce through 2017, according to Department of Labor statistics published in June 2018. That’s actually a drop of 1.1% from the mid-1990s.
However, the nature of such alternative employment varies in the 21st century with the proliferation of remote telecommunication. The ability to work with clients all over the nation – if not the world – makes the prospect of taking on contract-basis employment attractive for those with the motivation and means to seek out opportunities.
Since so much of marketing and media have moved online, Marketing Managers and Public Relations Specialists can contract their services out to a variety of clients without physical location placing limitations. The location of the product itself has gone digital, so collaborating with employers over email, Skype, Facetime, etc., is nothing out of the ordinary.
The same holds true for tech jobs like Web and Application Software Developer, and tech-adjacent fields such as Multimedia Artist. Intrepid professionals have the opportunity now to provide their services to as many, or as few, clients as they chose.
This ties into another means of alternative work – self-employment – which could account for as much as one-third of the employment landscape in the United States by 2020, according to one March 2018 report.
Self-employment can refer to entrepreneurs, as well as those who approach “gig” employment as a full-time career option. And opportunities for those seeking just such an employment path cover a wide range of industries and jobs.
Not only are there careers that benefit from the growth of and improvement in telecommunications, making the possibility of remote work a reality, but fields that were promising for alternative employment two decades ago can be even more attractive today.
The findings published by the BLS in June 2018 report Construction as one of the leading sectors hiring alternative employees, and specialized skill-trade workers in construction niches are in high-demand. Shortages for licensed Carpenters and Plumbers equate to abundant job prospects, and the chance to demand higher pay.
Though the nature of work is much different, the willingness and ability to move from site to site on a contractual basis can also provide a career path for Occupational Therapists. Schools, non-profit organizations that work with children and other organizations will often hire Occupational Therapists on contract for certain days and hours of the week, as opposed to full-time employment.
A similar approach works in the corporate world, too, where Management Analysts can work with organizations on an as needed-basis to help improve managerial practices.
Self-employment, independent contracting and other alternative means of employment come with challenges. Understanding the cost of health coverage when not covered by an employer is one important facet to consider – and indeed, the BLS reports only 28.2% of on-call workers surveyed had health insurance provided by employer. For temporary agency workers, that number was just 12.8%, and 41.3% for contract firm staff.
After weighing the risks and challenges, you might decide alternative employment is right for you. If so, here are some of the best options based on outlook and pay. Figures listed below span all levels of employment, as compiled by the BLS.