Millennials Are Defining the Future of Work

By Jamie Viggiano, VP of marketing at TaskRabbit

Over the last few years, there has been a surge of app-based services that enable people to share anything from their homes, to their cars to their time. These companies are part of the “Sharing Economy,” which is poised to become a nine billion pound industry by 2025.

According to research by PwC, young adults (aged 18 to 24) are now more interested in “experiencing” things versus owning things – in other words, having access to something versus owning it. 86 per cent of people who participated in the survey said that sharing made life more affordable and were “excited” about this collaborative consumption. The recession is an obvious contributing factor towards this shift away from material ownership but there are a myriad of reasons for its growing popularity.

The burgeoning Sharing Economy goes beyond just providing a service for the time or asset poor; it allows people to make money from their underutilized possessions or indeed their inherent skills.

As such, it’s giving way to a nation of microentrepreneurs. More than any other group, millennials are embracing the movement and capitalising on the benefits it provides.

A new way to work  

Despite a more buoyant economy, Youth Unemployment Statistics show that 743,000 young people aged 16-24 in the UK were unemployed in November 2014 through January 2015. It’s not surprising then that millions of millennials have embraced the flexible nature of the Sharing Economy, as it provides an alternative way to gain work experience and earn money, whether it is full or part time.

According to our own research across the US and London, the Sharing Economy brings far greater potential than just earning income. 58 per cent of Taskers on TaskRabbit are considered millennials and, while earning extra money was an incentive of working in the Sharing Economy, working flexible hours and not having a boss were two other considerable factors.

Traditional 9 – 5 on the ropes

People are veering away from the traditional constraints of the 9 – 5 work day and fast realising a freelancing lifestyle is viable. We found that 84 per cent of millennial Taskers would make themselves available to work during holidays, as they valued the opportunity to choose their own working schedule.

New business models based on the Sharing Economy are not only revolutionising the global labour force by giving people work when and where they want it, but challenging fundamental assumptions of work, from the nature of the firm to the structure of careers.

Our vision is to set new standards for the freelance economy, providing a platform of tools and resources for people to work flexibly and embrace the opportunities presented by the Sharing Economy.

A tech savvy nation building up trust

Sharing now accounts for 1.3 per cent of GDP in Britain, according to a report by The Sharing People and this is sure to rise. Ultimately the idea of sharing isn’t new; people have been doing it through the ages. Where the current Sharing Economy differs from the historical models and particularly appeals to millennials is that it is built on technology.

Technology enables people to connect with others at scale and also communicate seamlessly on the move. While these are important factors, it also takes the unknown out of speaking to a stranger. Having the knowledge (and peace of mind) that the service has not only been vetted by the company but someone else has already used the service and rated it “favourably” instills trust.

Millennials may well be the early adopters of working in the Sharing Economy but they are paving the way for future generations towards this new model of work.

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