The gig economy offers flexibility and freedom for some but it has left some workers on the fringes, according to new research.
A new report by technology think tank Doteveryone shows that gig work strips some workers of financial security and dignity in their work.
It has urged a rethink of the gig economy to create ideas for new social safety nets. It also calls for a legal obligation on gig platforms to pay a Minimum Gig Wage to account for the unavoidable costs of doing gig work.
Martha Lane Fox, executive chair and founder, said: “We have seen many gains as a society and as consumers from the fantastic pace of technological change and the flexible and independent nature of work today. But… there are many perils. We underestimate them at our very grave risk.”
The think tank suggests digital platforms provide greater transparency to show workers how their earnings and costs fluctuate.
One in ten Britons takes a job via a digital platform and the report shows that the app has become a trap.
The Better Work in the Gig Economy report spoke to gig workers who described the work “like quicksand.” People have “no option but to work gigs, and no way out once they’ve begun”.
Catherine Miller, interim chief executive of Doteveryone, said: “The platform economy enables flexible work but not everyone benefits equally. The recommendations set out in this report can happen immediately and show that, in shaping the future of work, technology can and should be used responsibly to create a fair, inclusive and sustainable democratic society.”
Sho Sugihara, chief executive of Portify said: “We hope this research acts as a catalyst for wider discussion and change.” Portify is a fintech startup that offers an app and financial products to help gig economy workers.