The Gig Generation: addressing the challenges of a new workforce

TD survey finds nearly nine in 10 Canadian Millennials say they have a concern with working gig jobs

Gone are the days of long-tenured employees. For Canadians, temporary and supplemental work is increasingly becoming commonplace as companies lean towards hiring for short-term engagements. The gig economy is here and Millennials are in the thick of it. According to a recent TD Insurance survey, nearly three-quarters of Canadian Millennials (73 per cent) – more than any other generation – say that they have, had or anticipate having some form of gig job.

Although Millennials report flexibility and work-life balance as benefits with working gig jobs, 87 per cent of them say they have a concern with this type of employment. One top concern expressed by Millennials is the lack of health and dental benefits. Furthermore, the survey also found that eight in ten (79 per cent) Millennials who work or have previously worked a gig job consider life insurance to be an important benefit, but only 16 per cent receive it through their gig job. As the workplace landscape continues to change, Canadians’ attitudes will need to adapt to change to help them thrive both professionally and financially.

“Gig jobs may not offer the protections and benefits that full-time employment does, and because of this, gig workers may assume higher levels of financial risk,” says Mark Hardy, AVP, Direct Life & Health, TD Insurance. “For example, Millennials may not commit to buying their own life insurance policy because they think they are too young. But, they should consider that it’s not just about a death benefit protecting loved ones; life insurance is also an integral part of a comprehensive financial plan. It’s important to know that the younger you are when you buy life insurance, the less you will likely pay for your coverage and your premiums will not increase for the term you choose.”

Canadian Millennials also expressed that lack of job security (61 per cent), income volatility (41 per cent), no paid vacation time (38 per cent) and no pension (32 per cent) are other concerns with working gig jobs. More broadly, in its 2017 report, Pervasive and Profound: Impact of Income Volatility on Canadians, TD found that Canadians with unpredictable monthly incomes are more likely to experience financial challenges and stress today, and to lack confidence in their financial future. Specifically, the report finds income volatility is more likely to be experienced by Millennials, particularly women and those aged 18-24.

“Gig jobs provide Canadians more flexibility because they can work where they want, when they want and how they want,” says Hardy. “While these benefits may appeal to Canada’s large millennial workforce, it’s important to acknowledge and plan for the instability that can come with gig jobs. For the Gig Generation, needs and risks can change on a month-by-month basis, so it is important to prepare and protect yourself, your financial health and any dependents from the unexpected.”

For those who have, or are considering, a gig job, TD offers the following tips on ways to help navigate some of these challenges:

Start building your financial know-how: When it comes to money, a little knowledge can go a long way. Everyone’s financial picture is different. Developing financial literacy skills such as budgeting, saving and investing can help you make better financial decisions with confidence. To help improve your money skills, TD offers various educational tools and resources online.

Prepare for the unexpected with an emergency fund: Major expenses have a way of happening when you least expect it, leaving you strapped for cash. To prepare yourself for any surprises, start building an emergency fund that could pay your rent and daily expenses for a few months. An easy way to do this is to automatically redirect some income from each paycheque into a high-interest savings account. Start with a small amount you can easily afford, and then increase it as your income goes up or your spending goes down. You could also include any unexpected income, like a bonus or birthday money, to help build your fund faster.

Save for retirement: Contribute what you can to your retirement savings. Speak with your financial advisor about options for growing your money that best suit your needs. If you contribute fully to a registered retirement savings plan, for example, you’ll not only be saving more for retirement, but save more in taxes too.
Younger = less expensive: The best time to buy life insurance is as early in life as you can. The cost of life insurance can vary depending on how healthy you are, so it’s a good idea to purchase life insurance when you are young and healthy – and keep it – to guarantee that you will be covered no matter what happens to your health in the future. Buying term life insurance will not only help protect the people who are important to you, it will also lock in your premiums so that they will not increase for the term you choose. You can figure out how much life insurance you need with TD’s Right Fit Coverage Assessment tool. This tool is designed to help Canadians who are unsure about life insurance get more information on what coverage will best fit their needs.

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