Research published today shows 4% of UK working adults aged between 18 and 70 are working in the ‘gig economy’, and nearly two-thirds of them (63%) believe the Government should regulate to guarantee th basic employment rights and benefits such as holiday pay.
That means approximately 1.3 million people are engaged in ‘gig work’ according to ‘To gig or not to gig: Stories from the modern economy’ a new report from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.
The report is based on a survey of 400 gig economy workers and more than 2,000 other workers, as well as 15 in-depth interviews with gig economy workers.
The research also found that, contrary to much of the rhetoric, just 14% of respondents said they did gig work because they could not find alternative employment. The most common reason for taking on gig work was to boost income (32%).
Overall, gig economy workers are also about as likely to be satisfied with their work (46%) as other workers in more traditional employment are with their jobs (48%).
However, there were concerns raised by some workers interviewed for the report about the level of control exerted over them by the businesses they worked for, despite them being classified as self-employed.
This is supported by the data, as just four in ten (38%) gig economy workers say that they feel like their own boss, which raises the question of whether some are entitled to more employment rights.
Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: “This research shows the grey area that exists over people’s employment status in the gig economy. It is often assumed that the nature of gig work is well-suited to self-employment and in many cases this is true.
“However, our research also shows many gig economy workers are permanent employees, students, or even the unemployed who choose to work in the gig economy to boost their overall income.
“Our research suggests that some gig economy businesses may be seeking to have their cake and eat it by using self-employed contractors to cut costs, while at the same time trying to maintain a level of control over people that is more appropriate for a more Traditional employment relationship.