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Workers in gig economy have varied motivations

August 3, 2018

Workers of different ages have different motivations for joining the so-called “gig economy,” according to a new survey by BMO Wealth Management.

The survey, released in July, is based on responses from 1,021 self-employed Americans age 18 and older. Self-employment can include things like freelance work, temporary or contract work. The phrase “gig economy” refers to these types of jobs.

Fifty-eight percent of millennials surveyed said they worked in the gig economy to make extra money on the side. In comparison, 55 percent of Generation X respondents and 49 percent of baby boomers offered this as a reason.

In contrast, 34 percent of baby boomers said they worked in the gig economy because it was the only way they had found to earn a living. In comparison, 23 percent of Gen Xers and 20 percent of millennials gave this response.

Asked about the drawbacks of the gig economy, respondents’ ages affected their answers.

A lack of benefits, such as medical, dental and disability insurance, were the most-cited drawbacks among respondents of all ages. But 77 percent of baby boomers cited this as a top drawback, compared with 69 percent of Gen Xers and 71 percent of millennials.

In contrast, only 17 percent of baby boomers said insufficient income was a major drawback of working in the gig economy. In contrast, 35 percent of Gen Xers and 55 percent of millennials cited this as a major drawback.

BMO Wealth Management is a brand name used by Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank.•

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