The Three Pillars of The Gig Economy

Most everyone has heard about The Gig Economy by now.

One aspect of The Gig Economy is new and growing. There is a new layer forming that is changing the way The Gig Economy operates.

But, for those that haven't here is the quick description. More details will come out below, but a general definition of The Gig Economy is:

A Gig Economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.


The Rise of the Intermediaries (click to tweet)

Have you thought about The Three Pillars of The Gig Economy?

  • The Gig Worker
  • The Gig Intermediary
  • The Gig Employer

The first and the last one need to exist for an interchange of goods and services for cash (or other compensation)

The middle one is continuing to grow and as it grows it gains power. This is an area to watch. It’s one that has been growing for the past few years. It’s also one that is set to be disrupted. That will be the topic of my next post on The 4th Pillar of the Gig Economy,

Power to Control The Gig Economy

But, today … the The Gig Intermediary is real and a force to be reckoned with.

Also, consider The Barter Economy. It is arguable that The Gig Economy sprung from The Barter Economy.

The allure of a Gig Economy has created a group of workers and employers. Each seeking to maximize their value and benefits while reducing their costs. Where costs can be defined in a myriad of ways.

In order for each to do this a set of intermediaries has popped up. Initially, it was a few websites that allowed Gig Workers to throw their skills on a what is effectively a bulletin board. That model has morphed into more advanced searching, parsing and sometimes payment systems that connects The Gig Workers with The Gig Employers.

It has also led to a group of enterprising vendors to act as the intermediaries. Where in the past these vendors worked somewhat autonomously and staffed projects on a more direct basis with full and part-time employee based staff. They are learning that The Gig Workers are really good and they want autonomy. They don’t want to be full time employees … even though they may work well-over “full time hours” in any given week.

They have gotten very smart in their ability to navigate the The Gig Employers systems to optimize their time, effort, and compensation. This is not a bad thing. It’s a smart way for these companies to expand and grow their business in the way The Gig Employers expect.

In the not too distant future … this is going to change. The 4th Pillar of the Gig Economy is taking hold. Those that do not adapt will fade away.

The Generational Economy

The great news for all three pillars … Age is not a factor.

Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z are all welcome. So are those from The Silent Generation. If you have skills … they are likely valued by someone … somewhere.

Those with skills … Should Apply!

imageOne group that is taking advantage of all Three Pillars of The Gig Economy are Boomers.

Boomers are playing in this space.

Boomers are HIRING in this space. Boomers have The FEM Factor.

They are working with, hiring and working for Millennials … as I noted in Working with Millennials in the Partner Community

This will serve them well to become part of that middle layer and also to be both the worker and the employer.

Watch this Space

Remember … Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z are all welcome.

Why do The Three Pillars Matter?

Reputation Management is a big part of this. When Gig Employers are looking for Gig Workers they want some level of assurance that the person can do the job.

This is where Gig Intermediaries come in.

  • Gig Intermediaries can build up a roster of Gig Workers and Gig Employers. It works both ways.
  • Gig Intermediaries will collect and collate a roll call of potential Gig Workers and Gig Employers for this effort. As most successful Intermediaries are apt to do they will cover both sides of the situation.
  • Gig Intermediaries will provide a level of comfort for both the Gig Workers and Gig Employers that they are getting the right people for the right job. And, that both sides will be satisfied … with the work, the compensation, and everything else that goes with a Gig Project.

What's in it for both sides (Worker and Employer)?

The theory is that it leads to frictionless commerce. The reality is … perception is not always reality.

Below are The Three Pillars and their possible perceived benefits from their place in The Gig Economy:

  • The Gig Worker - freedom, work where they want, when they want, have a higher gross income, put hard earned skills to use.
  • The Gig Intermediary - organize labor, earn income from managing talent, gain oversight (power) over the Gig Workers and Gig Employers.
  • The Gig Employer - reduce costs, have a truly flexible workforce, enable variable cost options.

Your mileage will vary … in The Gig Economy [click2tweet]

A mini-survey … answer in the comments or drop me a line.

  • What do you think?
  • Are these the benefits you expected?
  • Did you receive them the way you imagined?

Here are some of the expectations and non-expectations I have observed.


  • The Gig Worker - I'm skilled. Hire me!
  • The Gig Intermediary – Aggregates and collates skilled workers and in-need employers into a searchable database. 
  • The Gig Employer – I need skilled Gig Workers. Where do I find them?

Things NOT expected (for all three pillars):

  • Training
  • Pensions
  • A place to work (to get work done - this is in flux as some Gig Employers EXPECT “their” Gig Workers to be in a physical place. This is ok, but the smart Gig Workers will factor this into their costs (driving – time and vehicle costs, wasted time commuting and not being available for other Gig Work.
  • Work life balance (that is On Your Own (OYO)

The Gig Economy is in Flux

The current trend that allows for the existence of The Gig Intermediaries is changing. I know people in all three pillars of The Gig Economy. I have worked in all three pillars. I expect The Gig Workers to be needed for many years. I expect The Gig Employers to also continue to need Gig Workers. However, I see the need for the current model of The Gig Intermediaries is changing. That’s the topic of my next post.

Things are changing. I know my career has changed over the years and I expect that will continue to happen.

Whether we are ready or not … The Gig Economy will be a part of how we work.

Where do you fit?

  • Which pillars will you fill? (Perhaps all 3)
  • Can The Gig Economy survive?
  • What are your observations on The Gig Economy?

Drop your thoughts here. Inquiring Gig Workers, Intermediaries, and Employers want to know.

My next post will be about The Fourth Pillar of the Gig Economy. (click to tweet)


Did this strike a chord with you? I would appreciate it if you'd share it with a friend, colleague, or better yet … a Gig Economy enthusiast!

This is cross posted on Medium and LinkedIn

I have contributed 200+ articles to Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to the #1 Career blog for Millennials, the Personal Branding Blog



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