By HM Government (published August 2018)
The gig economy is a rapidly developing part of the UK’s labour market. The growth of technology has enabled the development of online platforms to facilitate the matching of supply of demand for work in a range of areas and involving a range of skills. This research report contains the main findings of a qualitative research project based on 150 telephone and face-to-face interviews with individuals working in the gig economy. They were asked about their motivations for undertaking this type of work, the nature of the work itself, and their experiences of using online platforms and finding and carrying out the work. They were also asked about their working conditions, such as pay, working hours, health and safety, and control over pace and work scheduling.
The authors found that experiences of the gig economy were very much dependent on the respondents’ circumstances. Although the perceived advantages of working in the gig economy varied, the ability to work flexibly and the control this afforded individuals was a commonly-cited perception. However, some might find themselves financially vulnerable when working in this way, due to fluctuations in the amount of work available and a limited ability to save. Despite this, many seemed unquestioning of this flexible and patchwork working life, in which income is derived from a variety of sources. This may point to a change in overall attitudes to work for some groups in the UK.