3 Surprising Ways Gen Z Take Advantage of the Gig Economy (And You Can, Too)

3 Surprising Ways Gen Z Take Advantage of the Gig Economy (And You Can, Too)

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More people are taking on side hustles to earn extra income than ever before. But for younger generations, especially Gen Z, side hustles are more than just a common way to make ends meet.

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According to a survey from consulting firm EY, 40% of Gen Z said they made money from both a job and a side hustle, noting that there’s both a norm and a cool factor to it. It’s also a way for Gen Z to make extra money during tough economic times.

In a separate survey that EY shared with Fortune, 73% of Gen Z said they have a side hustle to “make more money.” Gen Z were raised by parents who went through the worst of the 2008 financial crisis and watched millennials graduate college and enter the job market during the same period.

“What they have seen, if nothing else, is organizations will cut back, take steps in order to keep their profitability in a heartbeat,” EY Americas’ cultural insights and customer strategy leader Marcie Merriman told Fortune. “They’ve seen it happen to their parents, they’ve seen it happen to millennials, and in the last few years, many of them have experienced it themselves.”

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Gen Z Views Side Hustles as a ‘Pragmatic Decion and a Symbol of Independence’

What Gen Z witnessed growing up and their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic have led them to reexamine their priorities with a sense of pragmatism about their financial stability, according to the EY report.

Side hustles are now viewed “as a pragmatic decision and a symbol of independence. It is not necessarily based out of necessity or passion, it is viewed as the smart thing to do,” the report said, according to Fortune.

Gen Z Doesn’t Tie Their Identity to Work

Baby boomers viewed all-nighters at the office and skipping family functions as worth the cost to climb the corporate ladder. But today, that’s viewed as a thing of the past.

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Gen Z also doesn’t tie their identity to their career and views it as needless and without reward. Fortune noted that while Gen Z wants to do their job well, they’re less likely to tie their identity to work or prove themselves by making personal sacrifices.

Gen Z Are More Likely To Use the Internet To Make Money

According to Merriman, the internet removed many barriers to getting a side job. E-commerce and social media allow creatives to sell their work. It also provides networking opportunities that opened doors that past generations didn’t have, Merriman added.

Natalie Fischer, a 25-year-old Seattle resident, started posting content on social media about her journey as a first-time investor in the stock market during the pandemic, The Washington Post reported. She quickly built an audience on TikTok, gaining more than 56,000 followers which allowed her to get sponsorships and create content for brands.

“Now you can easily spin something up,” Aaron McDaniel, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, said to The Post. “Platforms […] help you take a creative outlet and make money.”

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