It seems that most of the news stories I read about the gig economy have undertones of doom concerning the future of the UK workforce. Apparently the flexible work community will never be able to afford to enter the property market or retire
comfortably – in recent news it was even the cause of Brexit. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I live in London and even without working gig to gig, I don’t think I will ever be able to afford to buy a house here either.
With much maligned press can come uncertainty and it is sometimes easier to just press the panic button. But let’s be real here the gig economy is not new, it is just being made more accessible with technology and greater connectivity. Technology is now the broker, connecting those who can do, with things that need doing. And those in the driver’s seat now have the opportunity to get involved and shape their industries for the better of both businesses and employees.
The gig economy has the potential to enable businesses to transform their resourcing strategies, construct more streamlined and tailored recruitment procedures, save time, manage seasonal shifts and save money- and in our current political climate, that doesn’t sound too bad. And the workers? The gig economy makes it possible for those starting up their own businesses to make extra money, mums to work part-time, students to choose their own hours so they can focus on their studies and work when and how they want- making what’s important to individuals the priority.
Apparently the flexible work community will never be able to afford to enter the property market or retire comfortably. I live in London and even without working gig to gig, I don’t think I will ever be able to afford to buy a house here either.
McKinsey Global Institute’s most recent report showed that thirty percent of working people are engaging in independent work and seventy percent choose to do so for greater flexibility. And flexibility is key here. The gig economy is built on the foundation that through flexibility and choice individuals can utilise their skills and equity and offer them to others for gain- enabling a two way marketplace for businesses and workers to operate. Theoretically a win-win.
I do however think it is important to mention that a great deal of the gig economy news has been geared towards workers rights and I will add that the Government’s involvement and endorsement will be key to the rate of progress.
It is also the responsibility of the businesses that adopt this model, to ensure that their workforce is fully educated on what benefits they do and do not receive, and that the workers fully understand the pros and cons of working this way.
So does that mean that the gig economy is going to be good for all of us? Probably not and that is because flexibility is not for everyone. But one thing that is for sure, is that the gig economy is only set to grow here in the UK, making it important for the gig community and also the government to be active in shaping it into an instrumental and positive force for both businesses, employees and consumers.