BOOMERS LIKE IT BEST: The secrets of Australia's gig economy

Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

The latest research shows that doing gig work, employing yourself and picking a series of projects for different companies, is satisfying.

Workers like the idea they can choose their employment status, the hours they work and their clients. However, the work isn’t as much fun to those who have been pushed into this type of work by circumstance.

In Australia, the gig economy, characterised by short erm employment contracts, is growing at exceptional speed, with the casual workers now representing a fifth of Australia’s work force.

According to research by demographers McCrindle and and the Care Support Network, those who choose the lifestyle — and are not there because they can’t get a full time job — love the work.

In a survey of 1,007 Australian casual and contract workers surveyed, work-life balance was the biggest driver with 87% considering it to be extremely or very important to them.

Those who have control over their work-life balance have a 90% satisfaction rate, while those without control over this only have a 26% satisfaction rate.

Choosing who to work with also has a correlation with job satisfaction. Those who have control over it have an 85% satisfaction rate compared to 39% for those who don’t get to choose who they work with.

Some 43% of those in the survey say they don’t not have control over who they provide services to and 56% have no control over their pay or the fees charged for their services.

And the gig economy isn’t just for emerging generations. Baby Boomers (63%) are the most likely to choose to be a casual or contract worker, more-so than Gen Y (50%) or Gen X (52%).

“We often think that it is the technology-savvy younger generation driving the gig economy. But this research shows that the older Generation X and Baby Boomers are the most likely to choose the flexibility offered by the gig-economy,” says social researcher Mark McCrindle, the head of McCrindle.

“It not only allows them to choose their hours, but they can choose the work times that will best suit, but also increase or decrease their workload depending on their financial needs.”

Australians who choose to work casually have their ideal hours per week at 22.9 hours, or about three days a week.

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