The experiences of individuals in the gig economy

Broughton A, Gloster R, Marvell R, Green M, Langley J, Martin A |   | Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) | Feb 2018

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This report authored by IES presents the findings from qualitative analysis of individuals working in the gig economy.

The research involved 150 telephone and face-to-face interviews, where individuals were asked about their motivations for undertaking work in the gig economy; the nature of this work; their experiences of using online platforms; and of finding and carrying out work.

The report's findings highlight the diversity of the gig economy, both in terms of the individuals undertaking this kind of work and the work that they are doing.

Experiences depend heavily on whether or not the individuals are carrying out the work as their main source of income. If this is the case, the report suggests that they are potentially vulnerable to fluctuations in working time and therefore pay levels, short notice of working schedules, and a degree of precariousness in terms of a lack of employment rights.

For workers who do not rely on this type of work for their main source of income, they are less vulnerable to such fluctuations in the amount of work available and can experience more freedom to accept or reject jobs.

The analysis also reflects on areas such as the skill level of individuals carrying out the work; whether these workers are planning for the future; and health and safety issues.