Riding the Demographic Wave: “Xennials” and the Gig Worker Movement

DMEC Staff@Work

“Xennials” and the Gig Worker Movement

Gig Worker MovementBy Matthew Bahl, JD

Director, Health & Productivity Analytics
Prudential Group Insurance

By Kristin Tugman, PhD

Vice President, Health & Productivity Analytics
Prudential Group Insurance

Individuals born between 1977 and 1983 comprise the so-called “Xennial” microgeneration. This group bridges the gap between the Gen X skeptics and the tech-savvy Millennials.

They didn’t grow up with technology, but readily adapted to its arrival during their college years. Entrepreneurial and innovative, Xennials turned toward the developing “gig” economy during the dot-com bust of 2000 and 2002,1 but now all generations participate, especially those entering the workforce. This rise of the gig economy presents employers’ human resource and benefit programs with unique, important challenges.

While estimates of the size and growth of gig employment vary, it seems evident that gig workers are here to stay. One report estimates that gig work arrangements comprised 16% of the workforce in 2015, up from 10% in 2005.2 Gig workers are not just Uber drivers, either. Under this model, workers are independent contractors providing services through technology-enabled platforms; some more traditional employers are outsourcing certain tasks to gig workers.3

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