As corporate dream jobs stagnate, the millennial workforce is working hard and creatively to find employment in the modern economy. Unlike our parents’ generation, would-be students are weighing the risks and rewards as higher education becomes more expensive.
This weekend I caught a Lyft home from an Edward Sharpe concert at the Greek Theater. After sparking a conversation with my moustache-sporting driver, I learned that he had commuted 3 hours -- from Fresno to San Francisco -- to work for the weekend. He was excited to share that my ride put him just past that break-even point and into the black.
In just 4 hours, he’d made enough money shuttling Bay Area passengers to cover all of the expenses for his work weekend away; including gas, lodging and food.
An economy on the rise
Experts at PwC predict that the current global revenue from the collaborative sector will increase dramatically from $15 billion to $335 billion by 2025. They also explain that awareness is on the rise: 44% US adults are aware of the sharing economy, 18% have used a sharing service and 7% have contributed to the sharing economy via different services like Upwork, a freelancer's paradise.
Let me go ahead and break down the math: In just ten years, the value of the industry will increase more than 2000%. With those kind of growth numbers, you’d be crazy not to enter the market!
So why should you create your dream platform now?
Valued at over $550 billion, Alphabet -- Google’s parent company -- surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company in February, and it all started out as a graduate research project. The founders moved into a garage in Menlo Park and the rest is history.
Just like this tech trailblazer, early entrants into the sharing economy have already proven valuable in disrupting markets. 7-year-old Uber is already valued at over $60 billion according to The New York Times. To put that into perspective, it took Starbucks over 40 years to accomplish that kind of valuation (source: Yahoo! Finance)
Getting in on the industry early allowed Google to grow, adapt and learn from their successes and missteps. There’s still time to break into the sharing economy before it becomes more defined and harder to innovate.
What does the sharing economy boom say about the millennials?
As corporate dream jobs with generous compensation packages are beginning to dry up, there is a resurgence in the entrepreneurial mindset that is driving the sharing economy forward. Students are graduating college with degrees backed by massive debt and are in search of ways to restructure their spending habits. Millennials are consuming differently to adapt to their new debt.
With so much open room to determine where the sharing economy will end up, and industry leaders still defining its terminology, getting your foot in the door will never be this easy again. Young entrepreneurs from far and wide are recognizing the opportunity and creating startups to cater to cost-conscious peers and their preferred system of commerce.
So with corporate stagnation, more carried debt and little desire to work a traditional 9-to-5, the younger generation is jumping on board and driving the sharing economy into many different sectors. The question remains, who is going to take initiative and become a leader in the industry? Why shouldn’t it be you?