By Sarah Cullingworth
The world of work is changing. Recent trends suggest that many of us are choosing to make a living working for ourselves doing one-off jobs, or ‘gigs’, as opposed to longer stints of employment.
Freelance work is no new phenomenon of course. Danbro, a leading national accountancy firm, has been offering its expertise to thousands of contractors and freelancers across the UK for over fifteen years. However, it is these short-term contracts, facilitated by companies such as Uber and Airbnb, which have contributed to the growth in recent years of the Sharing or Gig Economy.
Why are things changing? As noted by the McKinsey Global Institute, technology appears to be a major driving force,
“Independent work is rapidly evolving as digital platforms create large-scale, efficient marketplaces…”
In a more digitally literate society where we want everything at our fingertips, application-based companies have flourished. Through ride-sharing app Uber, self-employed drivers can get their next gig through their smart phone; contractor and client are matched directly.
So, what are the benefits of these short term contracts? Flexibility for one; picking and choosing your jobs to fit around your lifestyle can help maintain the ever-elusive work life balance that many of us crave. Also, many use ‘gigging’ as a way to supplement their income.
And there’s good news for gig workers out there – the Government have promised micro-entrepreneurs that from April 2017, they can earn up to £1,000 tax free for goods/services they sell and a further £1,000 income from their own property.
There have however been criticisms of the trend. In a speech last year Hilary Clinton commented on The Gig Economy,
“This on-demand, or so-called gig, economy is creating exciting economies and unleashing innovation. But it is also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”
However, The Gig Economy shows no signs of slowing down –PwC conducted research on five key sectors of the sharing economy, showing accelerated growth since 2013. Furthermore, they predict that the Sharing Economy could be worth $335bn globally by 2025, with the UK accounting for $15bn (or £9bn).
So the way we work is evolving, with many of us ditching the traditional nine to five for more flexible employment. Gigging, it appears, is here to stay.