Young People & the Gig Economy

Young Workers in Nonstandard Work Arrangements. It’s not just a mouthful, it’s the name of a report that takes a deep dive into the gig economy. The researchers found that “a majority of young workers, ages 21–25, with and without a college degree, are in standard work arrangements and are more likely to hold such jobs compared to the workforce as a whole.”

That’s not quite what you’d expect, is it? Young people are the ones who can afford to experiment! Still on their parents’ health insurance, used to living in tiny shoeboxes with roommates, and mostly without dependents to worry about, you’d think these are the people most likely to take a risk.

Well, hidden within those statistics is another interesting finding.

  • Young college educated workers are more likely than other workers to hold multiple jobs.

The report doesn’t dive into why this might be, bit it doesn’t seem to make much sense. You’d think college grads would be more likely to pay their bills with one job than their non-college educated peers. That is, of course, unless you consider college loan debt.

More Debt, More Jobs

I’ve known many a recent college grad with a full-time job and a waitressing or bartending gig on the side. Entry-level jobs don’t afford you much financial freedom when you’ve got hefty school loans. The cash you get while waiting on tables or slinging drinks looks mighty enticing when you’re living in an expensive city and making a pittance.

When I was 22 and barely out of college, I worked at a small, local newspaper. We got out at noon on Fridays. I went straight to another job in a dentist’s office. I didn’t make much money there, but it was enough spending money to get me through the weekends–leaving my salary for bill-paying and savings.

Debt is the enemy of freedom–financial and otherwise. Student loan debt is no different. The more financial demands you labor under, the less able you are to determine the kind of life you want.

Do you want to pursue a career or a lifestlye?

The earlier you can answer that question and set your sights on the life you want, the more likely you’ll be able to achieve it–because you’ll be less likely to take on unnecessary debt.


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