WHAT IS THE GIG ECONOMY?
It refers to a multimillion-dollar industry that owns no assets and is challenging conventional employment practices. It is influenced by technology and on-demand services and hires people on a temporary basis for short-term engagements. It is also known as the freelance economy. A local example is micro-jobbing site M4JAM, where users can earn money for completing tasks such as surveys and promotions.
HOW FAST IS IT GROWING?
It has grown rapidly with companies such as Uber, which is the most visible player in this economy, despite the fact that it doesn’t own cars or employ drivers directly. The gig economy is forecast to make up 40% of the US economy by 2020. This is in part due to low barriers to entry and the flexibility offered to individuals.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT WORKERS AND WAGES?
It ventures into uncharted territory and challenges conventional employment practices. New ways to regulate employment to protect workers have yet to be developed.
ARE WORKERS RISING UP AGAINST IT?
Some workers have demanded better conditions and wages. Drivers at UK-based Deliveroo objected to new pay terms and, after a campaign, successfully pressured the company into continuing to pay them per delivery, rather than per hour.
Sources: Time Magazine, The Guardian