The Canadian Gig economy
The Canadian gig economy is growing at a phenomenal rate and it is an increasing trend in Canadian employment scene. The gig economy is widely ranging from short or long term contracts from blue-collar industrial workers to highly skilled knowledge workforce like skilled IT and HR professionals. According to Statistics Canada, temporary employment accounted for 20% of employment gains from 2106/2017 to 2017/2018. It is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the growth of temporary workers has outpaced permanent workers since 1998. Rest assured, this is more of a rising tide than a passing wave.
Globalization, changing consumer demands and technological advancements have created spontaneous work opportunities that may not otherwise have existed. Various mobile phone apps like Handy and TaskRabbit allows provider and consumers to connect in real time. The gig economy is not limited to apps alone, many companies are jumping the bandwagon for work that does not create fixed employment.
Benefits and Challenges
While the gig economy has it’s upsides such as more autonomy and control, extra income, a better balance of family vs work or maybe a more accessible way to earn a living, it does have its fair share of downsides. For example, fluctuating income, lack of health/medical/employment benefits, retirement plans, etc. This makes it hard to plan for financial wellness and business success. This, in turn, takes away from the freedom, flexibility and the confidence that is a promise of the gig economy.
Given the inherent sense of insecurity and financial anxiety in the gig economy, there are ways to navigate these challenges. Of course, the gig economy in Canada cuts across generations and individual approaches will vary accordingly.
Make a business plan
A business plan is basically a document that highlights what you will do to earn a living. Now that you own your work, it is important that you have a clear roadmap that outlines your expertise, services, products, clientele, marketing plan, fees, location, hours and expenses. This will help you plan ahead for your business growth & viability and minimize the risks associated with starting your own business.
Have a financial plan
In the gig economy, you’re most likely to have a variable income. Therefore, it’s imperative to plan your financials and savings in advance. Think about your work and personal goals and come up with a savings strategy. Organize your transactions as personal vs work, get individual healthcare coverage, set up an emergency fund and be prepared to be flexible with savings.
As a self-employed
worker, you must report all your income to the appropriate tax authorities, and
make your own Canada Pension Plan contributions. It pays to be organized, so
keep detailed records of your income and expenses. It is advisable to work with
a tax professional to help you address your income tax situation and reporting
Build your personal/social capital
Studies in corporate settings have long demonstrated how important other people are to our careers. Surround yourself with like-minded people, seek out role models and peer groups in your community, collaborate on projects and build each other up.
Routines might seem like boring bureaucracy but creating routines for personal development is important in cultivating the right energy level and enthusiasm for the more unpredictable work of the gig economy. For example, incorporating personal care routines in terms of sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation brings back much needed control and order in your life as a gig economy leader.
Whether you’re a gig economy leader or not, staying organized in your life and work is always a surefire strategy for success. But it is especially important when you’re your own boss and you’re accountable to yourself. Stay on top of your game in by having a plan of action, staying organized and building personal/social capital. These three strategies will help you succeed in this sometimes uncertain but highly rewarding career choice.