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Only 13 per cent of workers across all employment types would even consider working in the gig economy for future employment and over three quarters of workers feel more secure sticking to permanent employment, according to a new survey by recruiting markplace Glassdoor.
Glassdoor’s survey of over 2,000 workers found the big benefit of working in the gig economy is flexibility, both for job seekers and employers. When asked the question, “What do you think would be the biggest advantage of working in the gig economy?”, most (35 per cent) of employees selected “flexible working”, followed by “better work-life balance” (11 per cent) and the ability to “be my own boss” (10 per cent). Some 39 per cent of female employees feel that the biggest advantage of working in the gig economy would be the flexible working, compared to just 31 per cent of men. However, 73 per cent of women also reported they already enjoy a good work-life balance in their current roles.
However, most workers favour permanent roles and say salaries and benefits are the most important workplace factors for both men (56 per cent) and women (63 per cent).
Glassdoor’s previous research for the US labour market suggests a slowdown for gig work in 2017, especially as job seekers weigh the pros and cons of this employment type. The UK survey finds that only 12 per cent of those already self-employed feel they would earn more if they left a job to take on work which paid “per activity” (rather than an annual salary), with 21 per cent of those in full-time work feeling the same. On a wider level, just one in 10 of all respondents across all forms of employment believe that the gig economy would become the “future of work”, with double that amount (20 per cent) feeling it exploited workers and harmed employees’ rights.
In terms of job generation, only 13 per cent of all respondents predict that the gig economy would be a good way to reduce unemployment and create jobs in the future.
When broken down by gender, nearly a third of women (31 per cent) feel that the gig economy would only ever be for a “limited number of workers” and was not accessible across a “wide range of roles”. This was opposed to just a quarter of men. Only 10 per cent of 18-24 and 9 per cent of 25-34 year olds are of the opinion that the gig economy will eventually become the “future of work”.
Dr Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s Chief Economist, said: “The gig economy may be associated with prodigious growth of app-based taxi rides and food delivery. However, as we’ve already witnessed in the US, the impact on the UK workforce could remain minimal in the longer term.
“The main reason is size. Although many ride-sharing and travel platforms have popped up in recent years, they’re still confined to a small corner of the workforce. Further, gig roles only really work for relatively simple jobs that are easy to measure, don’t require deep institutional knowledge and don’t rely on long-term relationships. The majority of the fastest growing jobs in the labour market today require human creativity, flexibility, judgment and soft skills.
“For some jobs, the UK gig economy is here to stay. But don’t expect the majority of the workforce to be part-time contractors any time soon.”