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What is the gig economy? How it could work for you


Rockin’ the gig economy: a beginner’s guide

What is the gig economy? These days, more and more people are working on a freelance basis, which has created a whole new world of job opportunities – cue the gig economy. Here’s our tips and tricks on how it could work for you.

1. What does ‘gig’ mean in the gig economy? Why is the gig economy called the gig economy?

The gig economy refers to jobs AKA ‘gigs’ that are available on a freelance or temporary work basis. Some people join the gig economy with multiple part-time jobs for ultimate flexibility (see task-master by day and ride-share driver by night). And others have 9-5 jobs, but have a side-gig for some extra cash.

2. Who works in the gig economy in Australia? And is the gig economy growing?

The gig economy employs people across a range of industries, from food and hospitality to tech and advertising. Side-gig apps facilitate a lot of freelance jobs in Australia, but professional industries are now looking for short-term workers too. Gig jobs are becoming more popular and these changing work patterns in Australia have even started to affect managerial and exec positions. Some places are even recruiting experienced CFOs and CTOs on a short-term basis to help grow their business.

Start on campus – student jobs are super convenient with managers who are sympathetic to an ever-shifting timetable. Your uni’s website could be a great place to look to find local casual and part-time gigs.

3. What are the gig economy pros and cons?


  • The option to work when you want and set your own pay-rate
  • You could monetise niche skills, trades or passions like graphic design, personal training or carpentry.
  • Take holidays when it suits you
  • By building your portfolio, career possibilities could grow.


  • Your income and work could fluctuate
  • Tax and super aren’t withdrawn by your employer(s)
  • Benefits like insurance, sick leave and holiday leave aren’t included.

4. How to get a gig and the most popular gig economy platforms

Mobile apps drive the gig economy. The most common side-gig platforms used by Aussies involve outsourcing everyday tasks, ride sharing and delivering takeaway food. To improve your chances of picking up some work on the side, why not sign up to them all? Those seeking more corporate work could reach out to their professional network, or talk to a recruiter to see what’s out there!

Pro tip: You can now add side-gig income to your daily budget on the UBank iOS app* to keep track of varying payments. Scroll to the end of this page to find out more.

5. What to consider before entering the gig economy

Gig jobs can be irregular, so having an emergency fund can help offset any quiet periods. Also, gig work apps run on a ratings-system, so trust is key. Earn it by doing quality work, answering emails and calls on time, and solving any issues before you finish the job.

You can also be strategic with your bank accounts. Choose one account for saving (like a UBank USave savings account)* and another for spending (like a USpend transaction account) to help reach your goals sooner. Our Free2Spend real-time budgeting tool could help you with the rest, so you can hustle hard and worry less!

*Consider if these products are right for you by reading the relevant product terms and conditions here before deciding. Product issuer is National Australia Bank Limited.

If you’re still unsure if the gig economy is for you, there are a number of gig economy books, gig economy pdfs and gig economy articles online, so do your research before taking a leap into the gig economy in 2020!

The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It doesn’t take account of any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice.