Week of October 14, 2018 — This Week in the Gig Economy

werkapp is a platform that helps companies find meaningful matches with general labour workers, at the click of a button

In the inaugural publication of This Week in the Gig Economy we’re covering everything from major trends on the Gig Economy through to the latest news on the latest developments in the space. Let’s jump in!

Major Trends

An interesting report published by Forbes contributor Bernard Marr shows how the 4th Industrial Revolution will have a significant impact on the way we work. The article discusses the need for businesses to be adaptable to the changing times, millennials’ constant job-hopping, and how easy it is to enhance your skills in the digital age. Pat Lynes adds to the sentiment, by stating that interim teams will be important in all levels of the private sector, and may even be necessary at the C-Suite.

Harvard University researchers have delved deep on the The Gig Economy, and its effects on the working class. They are striving to find ways to save the working class by crafting new pro-worker laws ahead of the big shift to the Gig Economy.

Research shows that the younger generation is unhappy because they cannot find meaningful work outside of big cities, and are forced to move to big cities in order to find work. People looking for entry-level jobs are also having an increasingly difficult time in gaining employment.

Staffing Market Indicators

The Canadian Staffing Index which measures staffing activity in Canada fell by 6% in September on a year-over-year basis. The index was also down 10% from August, on a month-over-month basis. This could indicate a cooling of economic activity, as the Staffing Index is often considered a leading indicator of the economy. Adding to that point, companies in the Calgary area hiring again, but mostly for temporary jobs. Hiring in temporary positions usually peaks when the economy is warming up, or beginning to cool down.

Temporary Staffing in the News

The public sector is increasingly embracing temporary staffing. In Spain, it is reported that the number of temporary workers in the public sector has reached its highest level since 2009. Nearly a quarter, or 24.9% of public workers in Spain are temporary workers. The City of Andalusia has actually contracted it’s temp hiring to a temp agency. The city can no longer hire temporary employees themselves as a result of changes to the federal regulation.

The attorney general for Illinois has shut down a temp agency in Chicago as a result from its treatment of immigrant Latino workers. The temp agency was reportedly acting as an “underground” supplier of workers for Chinese buffet-style restaurants. In other Illinois news, warehouse workers in Joliet are calling for a moratorium on staffing agencies. The workers contend that local warehouses rely on staffing agencies in order to avoid hiring full-time workers with benefits.

Gig Companies in the News

The Origin (OGN) protocol is a new, decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace built for buyers and sellers to connect/transact with one another. By basing the marketplace on the Ethereum network, the platform is taking direct aim at economic middlemen such as Airbnb, Uber and Craigslist. Origin is removing the standard transaction processing fees apparent in their competitors, and hopes to further create value for buyers and sellers.

Workers in the UK from McDonald’s, TGI Friday’s, JD Wetherspoon, Uber Eats and Deliveroo walked out on their jobs to demand better wages, full employment rights and union recognition. October’s “Fast Food Shutdown” will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the campaign to organize hospitality and gig economy workers in the United Kingdom.

Ahead of Uber’s 2019 IPO, the company is apparently launching a new venture called “Uber Works”. The service is still in it’s testing stages, but it has been described by a source in Uber as “a short-term staffing business to offer 1099 independent contractors for events and corporate functions”. This is one among many tactics that Uber is employing in order to increase their valuation ahead of their expected 2019 IPO.

In other news, Uber faces a lawsuit in Australia, as taxi drivers are pursuing legal action against the tech firm for operating without legal approval. Uber is consolidating in the Southeast Asia market after being acquired by Grab. Grab will take over Uber’s operations and assets in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Uber will get a 27.5 percent stake in the combined company.

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