Research by PwC forecasts that the burgeoning ‘gig economy’ − whereby people buy and sell jobs and services through online platforms − is already changing the world of work in favour of contracting.

PwC’s The Future of Work report estimates that the gig economy is on course to be worth almost £2bn in the UK by 2020, and £63bn worldwide. It is, the report suggests, set to disrupt the domination of established corporations. The study predicts a new world in which big businesses are outflanked by an agile, innovative and dynamic entrepreneurial middle market powered by connected work technology.

These new firms operate by permanently employing only a small core team embodying their values and philosophy, using the new technology of the connected work market to source the rest of their workforce as and when needed on a project basis,

PwC’s head of global people and organisation practice, Jon Andrews, said: “The world of work is changing. Contract work is in many cases trumping full-time, permanent roles for people due to the flexibility, autonomy and control it offers. People are increasingly using the technology of the connected work market to dictate where and when they work, and for who.”

He added: “This new technology is helping businesses to become more agile, fill their skills gap and respond to market disruptors.”

The gig economy also raises questions about future workplace protection, however, such as healthcare, pensions and benefits, according to Mr Andrews. It is not yet clear how this will be provided and how employers will look after a workforce that is by its very nature a transitional one.

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