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Gig economy going mainstream

In the UK, a quarter (25%) of employers are aware of digital work platforms, while 31% of that quarter have used them within the past year

Just 13% of British people believe they will be working in traditional 9 to 5 employment by 2025, according to research on the rise of the gig economy from the REC.

The report, titled Gig economy - The Uberisation of work, defines the gig economy as a 'collaborative economy, which involves enabling access to goods and services via decentralised networks such as digital platforms, therefore challenging traditional ways of doing business.'

In the UK, a quarter (25%) of employers said they were aware of digital work platforms; 31% of that quarter have used them within the past year. Similarly, data from the REC’s YouGov survey of 614 business decision-makers revealed that 6% of British businesses are using these platforms to recruit both permanent staff and temporary contract workers.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said that gig working is going mainstream and that this was a positive for business. “This is good news for employers who will welcome tools which help them access the global talent market,” he said. “The UK is close to full employment and businesses across the economy need to react to skills shortages. Current uncertainty around how the UK’s relationship with the EU will affect the jobs market is another driver for innovation.

He warned however that appropriate legal protections must be given to non-traditional workers. “Harnessing new technology which facilitates gig working can provide real solutions to embedded labour market problems, but policymakers need to get to grips with these new trends so that the UK can make the most of opportunities. We must ensure that freelancers, interims and contractors who find work this way are protected. For the recruitment industry we want a level playing field on which to compete.”