Department of Educational Administration



Ellen Scully-Russ 0000-0003-3329-6728

Richard Torraco 0000-0003-2952-1267

Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Human Resource Development Review 19:1 (2020), pp 66–93.

DOI: 10.1177/1534484319886394


Copyright © 2019 Ellen Scully-Russ & Richard Torraco. Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


Economics, demographics, technology, and other factors are changing the composition and availability of jobs. Newer forms of freelance, contingent work, also known as gigs, are gradually eroding traditional jobs. A venue that affords employment opportunities for a growing number of gig workers has become known as the platform economy. Those engaged in the platform economy already represent 10.1% of the U.S. workforce. This article explores the factors that give rise to these new work structures and examines the new opportunities they offer for employment and income. The social and economic consequences of the growth of these new work structures, intended and unintended, for workers, consumers, employers, and the public are discussed. The article concludes with a synthesis model of human resource development (HRD) research and the implications of the growth of these new types of work for HRD theory and practice.