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10 things changing with the gig economy

According to some observers, the gig economy—sometimes called the freelance, shared, or odd jobs economy—marks the end of full-time employment for future generations.

What is the gig economy?

According to Daniel Mercure, professor of the sociology department at Université Laval, who is greatly interested in the phenomenon, the gig economy indicates a work environment where non-standard, part-time, subcontract, and temporary jobs (short terms contracts worked by independent workers) multiply.

Here are, according to him, ten concrete effects caused by the increase of non-standard jobs in the working world.

Decreased social security

Even if this gig economy brings more flexibility and freedom to workers, it radically limits social security. Now, workers assume the risk. New forms of protection might come about similar to “flexisecurity” developed by the Scandinavian countries.

Later retirement

This social security decrease will lead to workers retiring much later than previous generations.

An explosion in innovation

Labour specialization and access to the cream of the crop employees will allow businesses to innovate and produce more at a lower cost.

Business withdrawal from pension funds

Contributions are made depending on the market; we are passing from a defined benefits system to a defined contributions system. Already, there is a noticed decrease in business guarantees and commitments.

Portfolio diversification

The time when we put all our eggs in one basket is over. From now on, the wisest choice is to invest in order to ensure your career and retirement.

Union transformation

This new environment will lead to unions demanding numerous changes to their labour rights chapters. We could also see the advent of new forms of unionization (by sector for example).

Business strategies will change

Businesses will be comprised mainly of non-standard employees and the stable core of businesses, although necessary, will be reduced. There is already a noticeably significant decrease in labour in the manufacturing sector.

Increase of Internet entrepreneurs

The constant development of new technology breaks down borders and more web entrepreneurs are starting up because they can easily find clients and contracts all over the world.

Labour specialization

In all sectors demanding highly qualified labour, workers will be more specialized since competition will become ferocious and they will have to respond to market demands.

The economy of scales

The removal of intermediaries in some sectors already translates into large economy of scales. The challenge for businesses will then be to respond to service quality demands from consumers.

Some figures

According to the most recent figures given by the Institut de la statistique du Québec (2015), 37.5% of Quebec residents have non-standard jobs. That is 67% for the 15 to 24 year olds. A study by the financial software group Intuit revealed that 80% of big American businesses intend to develop their use of flexible labour. By 2020, 40% of American workers could be in a precarious position. According to MBO Partners, from now on, nearly 18 million Americans make up a large part of their job revenue untraditionally, and 12.5 million have part-time jobs.

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