The word “gig” originated from the 1920s jazz scene in which jazz musicians had their own slang and referred to performances as gigs. The word gig was used as a noun where it was considered a live performance by a musician or group playing popular or jazz music. The word is also used as a verb such as perform a gig. Although no one knows the true origin of the word “gig” it is possible the origin was from the word gigue which is a lively dance form of Italian origin commonly used as the last movement of a suite from the Old French word giguer. According to jazz musician Eubie Blake and bandleader James Reese, Europe used the word “gig” in the jazz world as early as 1905 and most commonly used in the 1920s.
Today, the term “gig” is associated with the gig economy which is a free market system in which individuals or businesses hire independent contractors, freelancers and short-term workers for specialized tasks, assignments or jobs. In the “gig economy” or “freelance economy,” gig workers earn all or part of their incomes from short-term contracts under which they are paid for individual tasks, assignments, or jobs.
In many ways, the gig economy facilitates the desire of generations of workers for greater flexibility in balancing their work-life demands, often changing jobs several times during their lifetimes. No matter what motives drive gig workers, the popularity of the internet, with its capability for remote work, has caused the gig economy to grow significantly. The advantages of gig work are many and the tax, accounting and legal profession are now benefiting from the trend. The benefits include flexibility to work from any location and at any time of the day; unlimited independence to work around what is important in their personal and family lives; and a wide variety of work that keeps specialized professionals interested and energized.
According to an article in Business News Daily, a recent research study by ManpowerGroup found that 87 percent of the 9,500 Global workers surveyed are open to what they call ”NextGen Work” for their next or future positions. From the globalization of ecommerce, to the innovation economy, companies around the world are looking for flexible talent, stated Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer. There is not enough talent in the places people would like to hire and businesses and people want more flexibility in how they build their organizations.