The workforce has undergone a major transformation and Millennials are leading the charge. They have embraced the gig economy lifestyle which enables them to ditch the standard 9-5 and find more meaningful work in less traditional settings.
According to one definition, “A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.” Millennials are accustomed to customizing their lives, so why not their careers?
Millennials are known as the innovators and the disrupters. They have challenged the industry standard and developed more efficient ways to live their lives with the use of social media and technology. Whether it’s finding a room on AirBnB, a ride on Uber or a date on Tinder.
According to the Levo Institute and the Adecco Millennial Economy Report, 96 percent of millennials said they were always or almost always online and when they need more information the first place 70 percent will turn to is a search engine.
Since they are almost always online and can work from anywhere, thanks to their iPhones and wifi, they are able to disrupt the future of work through technology.
The millennial generation entered the workforce during the recession. They saw their parents lose their jobs and their nest eggs in an instant. Upon graduation, this generation found themselves unemployed or underemployed for a long period. It makes sense that they needed to forge a new path for themselves and why they were ahead of the gig economy trend. Their careers have shifted in a zig-zag as opposed to an upward ladder. Millennials will continue to dictate the job trends in the years to come. By the year 2020, millennials will make up 75 percent of the US workforce.
The Millennial Economy Report states that almost half (44 percent) of the millennials surveyed have a side hustle. This report highlights the fact that Millennials are looking for careers that give them freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment.
They are willing to let go of financial gain and a stable paycheck to take control of their careers. They have gravitated toward side hustles which allow them to manage and customize their career path. They are also leaning into the gig economy lifestyle in order to become their own bosses, spend more time with their families and work from anywhere. In addition to control, millennials want their work to provide a sense of fulfillment. According to the report, 46 percent say their work gives them a sense of personal accomplishment.
Millennials are comfortable using technology to find opportunity and network. As stated in the report, 57 percent have used an app or website for dating or relationship (career/friendship) building. This approach to networking and embracing new technology enables millennials to find their freelance work at a more streamlined pace when compared with older generations.
Millennial side hustlers in the Levo community have shared their insight on what they learned throughout their career journey.
Molly Hayward, Founder and CEO of Cora:
"Ignore your fear. It never goes away, at least not for long. Learn to listen to your instincts and the parts of you that are thrilled and enlivened to be doing the work you do more than the part that is telling you you’re not good enough. The only way to fail is to give up because you were too scared to carry on."
Debbie Sterling, Founder and CEO of GoldieBlox:
"Turning your passion project into a company takes time, research, and planning. For nine months while still working full-time, I dedicated every spare moment—evenings, weekends, even lunch breaks—to GoldieBlox. Before bringing anything to market I wanted to be as informed as possible, so I studied the toy industry, met with scientists and teachers, and read all the research I could around the developmental effects of construction toys."
Samantha Cooper, Founder of TrendTribe:
"What’s the reason you started your side hustle in the first place? Likely, it was to pursue a passion that you have a longing for. Even if no one reads your blog post, or you have no customers, or you have no followers, pursuing your passion is always worth it. At the end of the day, you don’t want to look back in 5 years and think, “I really wish I followed through with that. I wonder what could’ve happened."
This report sheds light on the fact that millennials are taking ownership of their professional lives and striving to fulfill their dreams and passions. That might mean having a day job and working on a side gig or jumping full steam ahead into the freelance workforce. Millennials are targeting projects and clients that provide them with a sense of achievement, flexibility, and meaning. They are also enabling themselves to take on different types of work to enhance their experience and skillset.