The dream of self-employment is an aspiration which many of us have – enjoying flexible hours and being your own boss certainly has its benefits – but what are the drawbacks of this ever-growing work system?
More than five million UK employees now work in the gig economy sector, with 4.4 per cent of the UK population having worked in the gig economy in the last 12 months (as of Feb 2018)*.
Currently, the business model relies on short-term, freelance work contracts. This means that those who work in the gig economy are paid for each ‘gig’ they complete on an ad hoc basis. Over the years, the gig economy has branched out into myriad areas, with food delivery, couriers and taxi rides the most common.
And its expansion shows no signs of waning. Unsurprisingly, the gig economy’s flexible model attracts a predominantly young crowd – more than half of those in the workforce are aged between 18-35.
However, with such a young – and ever-expanding – workforce, the question remains: will the gig economy replace traditional 9-5 contracts in the future?
Lee Tetley, from insurance broker, Premier BusinessCare says: “It’s evident that the employment landscape is changing and the gig economy is just one example of how both employers and workers are seeking more flexibility. Businesses which utilise freelancers on a short-term basis need to clearly define what their workers’ rights are and look to support anybody working for them, whether this be through providing insurance cover for the work they undertake or even providing employment benefits.
Insurance could also prove a challenge for the sector overall as typically a self-employed business owner would purchase an insurance policy on an annual basis, which may not provide the flexibility the sector requires.”