Week of November 11, 2018 — This Week in the Gig Economy

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In this publication of This Week in the Gig Economy, we’re covering topics ranging from the Future of Work, large trends in the Labour Market, and the latest developments with large gig economy companies. Without further ado:

Gig Economy Developments

Over 1,000 lawyers embraced the remote-working gig economy in the UK. Research by chartered accountants and business advisory group Hazlewoods showed the number of lawyers working for so-called ‘platform’ firms has increased 29% to 1,035 up from 803 in 2017. The number is still a fraction of the 140,000 practising solicitors in England and Wales, but there does appear to be a growing trend for lawyers to take control of how they work and be more entrepreneurial.

The Swiss insurance giant, Zurich partners up with the Oxford University for a three-year study to develop the means of ensuring workers are effectively protected and supported in an increasingly fragmented labour market. An initial report compiled as a part of the program shows that the existing life insurance models and various other insurance products have been designed with keeping the traditional way of work in mind. Now, it’s time to re-think our systems to support people in the context of changing the nature of the work in the 21st century.

Shyft raises $6.5M to help workers swap shifts. The Seattle based start-up that has developed a software platform for retail and hospitality workers, and their employers. According to Shyft, two venture capital firms based in the Seattle area, Ignition Partners and Madrona Venture Group, led the Series A round. The startup says it has raised a total of $8 million in outside financing since launching in 2015.

Lawsuits in the Gig Economy

Airbnb is suing the Boston city for there anti-gig economy laws. Airbnb and Boston city don’t share a pleasant history when it comes to lawsuits. Back in June, Boston city came out with the new raft of laws to crush Airbnb business in the city. Airbnb wasn’t announcing any immediate action in response other than seeking community input and additional dialogue with municipal leaders. It seems that the “dialogue” didn’t produce much in the way of results because Airbnb is now taking the city to court.

Meanwhile, the decision by the Fair Work Commission to force Foodora to pay one of its former workers almost $16,000 may have wide-reaching consequences for Uber, Deliveroo and other businesses in the gig economy. Experts say the case will have wider implications for the gig economy because the Commission also ruled Mr Klooger (the delivery driver) was a Foodora employee, not an independent contractor.

Trends and The Future of Work in the Gig Economy

Gig economy is on the rise in the most part of the developed world.

No matter what they’re called — freelancers, independent contractors or flex workers — the folks who make up the gig economy now total nearly 60 million, and they are becoming an ever bigger slice of the American workforce.

In fact, a recent survey commissioned by online freelancing platform Upwork and Freelancers Union shows that the freelance workforce is growing three times faster than the overall U.S. workforce and that the majority of people will be working independently by 2027.

Research from the UK government concluded that in the UK 4.4% of the population worked in the gig economy in the last 12 months. This is roughly 2.8 million people.

These changes have major implications for how the workforce will look in the years ahead, the role corporations and the government will play in this new landscape and the technologies that are helping to drive the marketplace shift.

In the same note, Adecco chief calls for implementation life-long learning for the workers in order to reduce and compensate for the threats of robots and job automation in the future.

As increasing automation eliminates many roles, government and the private sector should work together to fill skills gaps, while workers must become more flexible, the head of the world’s largest staffing services company told Reuters in an interview

By the way, if you are curious to learn more about the future of Gig Economy and if they are capable of replacing the traditional employment. Check out this interview with Matt Tyson, Managing Director of freelancer support service Workr Group.

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