Read What’s Hot Around the Web: May 2018

A roundup of independent contractor news and insights

The world is abuzz about the gig economy. We’ve curated some of the top news articles, opinion pieces, and data circulating in recent weeks. Read on to find out about which freelancer skills are in demand, how the side-hustle trend could change the workforce for the better, the staggering truth about freelance writer rates, new opportunities for platform gig seekers, the gender pay gap among independent contractors, and the growth trends of specialized freelance income across major U.S. cities.

These freelancer skills are in demand. Here’s how you can learn them or perfect them.
Business Insider compiled a list of the top 20 skills that are gaining traction in the freelance job market and paired those skills with online course options. Learn trades like voice over and closed captioning with just your laptop and set yourself up for even greater success as an entrepreneur.

Gigs and side hustles could be springboards to fulfilling lifelong careers and spur job growth.
This Forbes opinion piece analyzes how the gig economy is changing the workforce. We know that one third of U.S. workers are now independent contractors. Some analysts might say that’s marching the full-time job with benefits toward extinction. But entrepreneurs are also forming their own companies and hiring employees, and these new business owners have a different mindset on labor. The shift could mean a better work-life balance for our culture as a whole.

Freelance writer rates haven’t adjusted for inflation—in some cases they’ve gone backwards.
Author Malcom Harris penned this article published on Medium regarding just how much the words we write and consume are worth. Despite the growing demand for written content, freelancers are still chasing after the elusive $1 per word rate they did decades ago.

The gig economy has hit new industries: retail and hospitality.
Many restaurants, hotels, and retail stores have opened their doors to gig workers through platforms like Instawork. Workers can claim shifts as servers, cooks, baristas, bar tenders, retail store workers, and more. The new concept allows those earning income from the digital platform economy to have more flexibility, and it allows employers to pull from a broader labor pool in times of heavy demand.

The gender pay gap affects freelancers too.
In its 2018 Women in the Workforce Report, accounting platform Freshbooks announced that a 28% wage gap exists among female and male independent contractors. The report offers info on wage gaps by industry plus additional survey results regarding why many women chose to become self-employed in the first place and why they wish to stay that way.