Politicians, platforms, companies and the media are constantly talking about the growing phenomenon that is the Gig Economy and Platform Work. For some this represents the glorious, Utopian future of freedom, choice and opportunity. For others it represents a nightmare mix of precarious employment and uncertain incomes. The voice that was missing in these debates was that of the workers themselves. That’s where our survey came in.
Instead of having others talking about freelancers and for freelancers, we wanted to hear from the people directly.
We wanted to establish whether people rent out their home or are doing side gigs? What kind of gigs are people doing? How many platforms do they use? How many hours are they spending?
Our aim was to answer these questions, and more, with first-hand data and thereby create the first comprehensive study of Gig Work and earnings in Europe.
The Gig economy and the freelance movement have been billed as bringing much-needed disruption to the labour markets across Europe, as well as giving more choice and control to individuals. Furthermore, this development should combat vested interests and increase efficiencies.
This trend has been fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work. Some analysts speak of the “Great Resignation” while the message is clear that the world of work is changing. The traditional 9 to 5 employment arrangement - selling your time to one employer five days per week - is becoming less attractive. More people are demanding increased flexibility with regards to where, when and how they work.
Despite this reality there are disputes about what the Gig economy refers to and, more importantly, there are very few hard facts and figures available which quantify this phenomenon. Most research tends to be qualitative rather than quantitative. In addition, we seldom hear from the people involved in freelancing and Gig work. This situation needs to be addressed and is therefore the catalyst for this study.
Free Trade Europa is an independent think tank promoting the social, economic and political benefits of openness, liberalisation and free trade for governments, companies and citizens. Free Trade Europa has written extensively about the platform, gig and sharing economy and published the following studies: “Nordic Disruption: Analysing the Platform Economy in Sweden”, “A New Hope: the role of the Platform Economy in facilitating migrants into the Swedish Labour market” and “A Fair Gig: addressing the working conditions of platform workers and the policy approach to the Platform Economy in Europe”. Find out more at: www.freetradeeuropa.eu
The Future of Work Institute was founded with the intention to make the future of work transparent and comprehensible for everyone. The Institute shares insights and collaborates with researchers to provide stakeholders within the labor market in general - and the gig economy in particular - with up to date data, for them to be able to make rational decisions built on facts. Publications cover a wide range of issues linked to the gig economy, including taxation, regulation, employment classification and the role of algorithms. Find out more at: https://www.appjobs.com/institute/
Started during the COVID-19 pandemic, the #WorkAnywhere Campaign is a global advocacy movement representing remote workers. Their policy events bring together senior public & private-sector stakeholders to discuss the opportunities and challenges related to rising workforce digitalisation. The campaign’s groundbreaking research project, ‘Social Connection in Remote Work’, is the first-ever study on workplace loneliness that incorporates data from non-home remote work environments. With 1.2 million followers on social media, #WorkAnywhere is widely regarded as a leading influencer on remote work, workforce mental health and the future of work. Find out more at: https://www.workanywhere.org/