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Contract-based work like Uber, Instacart exploding in multiple industries

Contract workers
Posted at 7:09 AM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 07:09:14-05

(WXYZ) — The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted the labor dynamics and fabric of the country.

Last year many people left high-stress, low-paying jobs with the ability to create their own hours and choose when they want to work through contracted work like DoorDash, Uber, and Instacart.

Janell Kirkland was a pre-school teacher for 15 years with Detroit Public Schools, but in the last few years, she says something changed.

"As a teacher, it got to the point where I was being limited by contract talks or the step that I was on and that sort of thing and I just got worn out," she said.

KirklandKirkland started working part-time for SHPT after school. SHPT is a company that specializes in personalized grocery shoppers. She now works for SHPT full-time as an independent contractor.

"I just love having the freedom of my time," Kirkland said. "So I decided to become a SHPT shopper full time and it was a pretty easy transition."

She hasn't looked back since. She does at least 70 grocery runs per week.

Sue Ashford, a professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan who is currently researching the thriving gig economy says the boom of contract work goes beyond just Uber drivers and personal shoppers.

"A large portion of it is professional jobs," Ashford said. "Organizations have stopped doing in-house and now do through contract work."

During her research, she says there's agony and ecstasy when it comes to contract work.

"You have to do everything that an organization does on your own," Ashford said. "You also get the beauty of making the personal choices. You can decide to do this consulting and not that but if it doesn't go well there's no one to blame it's all you."