Gig Economy Workforce ‘Doubled in Size Since 2016’

June 28, 2019

The number of people engaged in work within what has come to be known as the ‘gig economy’ has doubled across the UK over the past three years.

That’s according to the latest figures on the subject published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which is concerned about a relative lack of legislation designed to protect the growing number of people who work in the gig economy for companies like Uber and Deliveroo.

As many as one in seven (15.3 per cent) of working age Brits have at some point undertaken gig economy jobs and roughly one in 10 are continuing to do so.

Just three years ago in 2016, the figures suggested that only 1 in 20 working age people living in the UK were operating in some form of gig-based profession.

Researchers found in their more recent polls that most people who operate as gig workers don’t count it as their primary source of income and regard it instead as a means of ‘topping up’ their bank balances.

For the most part, people involved in this type of work are towards the younger end of the age scale, with six in 10 people operating in the gig economy currently aged between 16 and 34.

From the TUC’s perspective, the growth of gig-based work is being driven in no small part by the fact that so many people are struggling to make ends meet, even if they’re in full-time jobs.

The TUC wants to see gig economy workers given more rights as employees and, specifically, to be paid at least minimum wage and be given holiday pay just as their counterparts are elsewhere in the economy.

“The explosion of the gig economy shows that working people are battling to make ends meet,” said the TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady.

“Huge numbers are being forced to take on casual and insecure platform work – often on top of other jobs. But as we’ve seen with Uber, too often these workers are denied their rights and are treated like disposable labour.”

“It’s high time to enact policies to ensure platform workers have access to social protection,” added Justin Nogarede from the European think tank FEPS.

“We should break the link – often portrayed as inevitable – between platform work and precariousness.”

Joanne Wright

Head Adviser at our Manchester Office

Tel: 0800 001 4247
Email: enquiries@ukdebt.org.uk

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