The "gig economy” has been a buzzword many would identify with the young and tech-savvy--especially since most of the people involved with it are mostly millennials--some young people are keen to make a dollar on the side.
But now, it seems like gigs are also getting a buzz from the other side of the demographic: senior Australians are also pursuing some serious side hustles and making thousands.
Armed with only her cleaning implements and life experience, 59-year-old Isobel Treharne is one of those older Australians.
Providing cleaning service on an online outsourcing marketplace Airtasker, she made $20,000 extra cash in three years. It’s a handy money spinner, but Treharne also enjoys the social aspect of the work. She works with her clients to find out exactly what needs doing and how they want it done, but as her clients are often businesses, she taps into her background as a secretary to provide them with management and organisation tips.
It’s a good deal for $30 an hour, she argues.
“I initially joined Airtasker due to the lack of opportunities for people in my age bracket. I’m a very hands-on person, and always have to be doing things so it worked out well.”
She plans to continue with the side hustle for as long as she can. And she's not the only one.
Airtasker brand lead Alexandra Tully told Yahoo! Finance: “From gardening to baking, handyman work to accounting, copywriting and IT help – seniors on Airtasker are earning extra money by using the valuable skills they’ve built up during their lifetime”.
“We’re seeing the over-55 community within Airtasker continue to grow as they embrace the flexibility and control Airtasker offers when choosing not only when they want to work, but with whom they want to work.”
As we live longer, we’re also retiring later
Australians 65 and over are expected to make up around 25% of the population by 2047 – nearly double the current number. And these soon-to-be seniors are tech savvy and physically mobile with the advancements in medicine and treatment.
“It turns out many tech savvy and physically mobile Baby Boomers are seeing beyond the veneer of glossy cruise brochures and timeshares, and realising work brings a sense of purpose and intellectual stimulation that is far more appealing,” founder of new super fund Zuper, Jess Ellerm said in a recent report.
And according to a study by RAND Institute, Baby Boomers are increasingly putting off retirement for “fulfillment, rather than finances”.
The same study found most older workers would continue working if given the right opportunity. Now, older workers are turning to jobs like gardening or babysitting, skills they’ve had and learned over the years. Nowadays, these could easily be monetised and be networked through via digital platforms.
In fact, US retail investor data and insights firm Hearts & Wallets released research in 2017 finding one-third of future retirees anticipate they will earn one-quarter of their income by working. That was a 6 per cent increase from 2016.
A quick scroll through international babysitter website, Juggle Street reveals that while it’s dominated by women in their 20s, women in their 50s and older – many retired teachers – are also using the platform.
It’s the same case at Sittr. Sonia Daoud is 51 and uses the babysitting platform to supplement her income as a family day care educator.
The single mum said her clients like that she is more mature and doesn’t fit the usual babysitter stereotype.
The payment is guaranteed, it’s work she’s qualified for and good at, it’s helping her pay off her mortgage and critically, she’s in control.
And with more Australians set to retire, Daoud may not be in the minority for long.