In this week’s Ask Me Anything, Greg Ferenstein shares helpful tips and big-picture reflections on gig work.

Question: With unemployment benefits ending, how do you recommend finding stable gig work to make sure I can cover my rent?

Answer: The pandemic has put people in a lot of difficult positions. I think a lot of people still have access to intermittent independent contract work through various apps. One that I find pretty promising is called Steady, which matches people’s skills and schedules for a variety of opportunities.

Keeping an eye out on forums, searching online, and asking friends might help uncover some good opportunities for gig work, too.

Question: Do you think gig work is the way of the future?

Answer: I think flexible work is the way of the future, but I’m not sure what legal classification it’s going to fall under. It’s a lot easier to hire people for an immediate need now, and that provides opportunity for people who need flexible hours. Previously, it was hard for someone going to school to work around a busy school schedule with intermittent exams. Now, after someone finishes their midterm exam, they can open up an app and earn some money.

This is a technological breakthrough that is definitely going to change the nature of work and make it trend towards what we call “gig work” today

Question: How can gig work close the earning and opportunity gaps caused by systemic racism?  

Answer: The hiring process is a minefield of implicit bias, and job platforms tends to avoid these. Take an app like Uber, where no one has much idea what their driver’s ethnicity or sexual orientation is. In fact, just this month, I was interviewing a Lyft driver who told me, unprompted, that previous experience with racism was one reason he drives. 
This is also supported by the available evidence. A study commissioned by Uber was looking at the differences in pay among drivers. The main finding of the study was that drivers who have more experience end up earning more, But, if you look at the details of the study, they didn’t find a meaningful discrepancy between different genders or ethnicities. This is pretty significant since most occupations have serious discrepancies among different demographic groups.

Have questions? Send them my way.