Exploding myths about the gig economy 

segments-of-independent-workers

 

From VOX, CEPF’s Policy, PortalJacques Bughin, Jan Mischke discuss the results of a survey by the McKinsey Global Institute of 8,000 independent workers.  The survey found that 70% of independent workers engage in independent work by choice.  Jacques and Jan write:

First, it’s important to recognise that independent workers share three defining characteristics: they have a high degree of autonomy; they get paid by task, assignment, or sales; and they have short-term commitments to their clients or customers. Independent workers provide labour, sell goods and rent assets, and they include sellers on digital platforms like eBay and Etsy, micro-landlords who rent rooms on Airbnb, and freelancing physicians, lawyers, web designers, and writers…

The vast majority of independent workers, about 70%, whether primary or secondary job holders, say they engage in independent work by choice, preferring greater autonomy and flexibility than traditional jobs typically offer. And the majority of this group are indeed casual earners, using independent work to supplement other sources of income. Casual earners typically include students, retirees, or caregivers who combine work with other responsibilities and activities as well as some in traditional jobs, supplementing their income…

People who chose to work independently report higher levels of satisfaction, and not only because of greater work flexibility. More are engaged in their work versus traditional job holders, relish being their own boss, and enjoy greater creativity than typical nine-to-five workers. Overall, they are happier with their level of income and report being just as satisfied as traditional workers on issues like income security and benefits.

Unfortunately, that still leaves 30% of independent workers who have no choice but to work independently. While they are a minority they tend to be more typically associated with the independent workforce. This group can be split into two categories – those who derive their primary income from independent work but would prefer a traditional job, and the financially strapped who would prefer not to work on the side but are forced to in order to make ends meet.

 

Read the full story at Exploding myths about the gig economy | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal

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