A recent survey, conducted by WeMa Life, a health technology start-up based in the UK, found that more than six million adults in the UK are either self-employed or working as contractors. Another 6% of professionals currently in full-time employment are preparing to join these independent workers in 2018. The survey found that the gig economy, which is flourishing, is responsible for a change in the work environment in the UK. As a result, more adults are attracted to flexible work.
Approximately 19% of adults in the UK are now working in the gig economy, with 71% of them choosing to join due to flexible working hours. Another 46% said that the gig economy was attractive because life commitments did not allow them to take up a full-time job.
In the UK, there are currently 81% of adults working full-time. Of these, 6% intend to join the gig economy as contractors, freelancers, and self-employed. This equates to about another 1.56 million adults, who will become independent professionals. Experts believe that the number of professionals joining the gig economy would have been higher if self-employment was nott shrouded in uncertainties. Almost 42% acknowledged that they did not know how to network and meet prospective clients, and another 39% said they had no knowledge of invoice processing or issuing invoices.
While the gig economy offers adults freedom as well as flexibility, almost 55% working in the economy have said that the legislation for fair hourly rates and making payments on time did not offer adequate protection.
In May 2018, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) urged the biggest organisations and businesses in the UK to stop poor payment schedules to the self-employed and small businesses so that cashflow in the country would improve.
Rajal Patni, Co-founder of WeMa Life, said that the gig economy was altering the workforce landscape in the UK. This change is driven by rising number of digital platforms and apps that allow freelancers, self-employed and contractors to connect with their customers with ease. Patni added that the research shows that gig economy may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, many professionals are attracted to the economy, as it offers flexibility and control over their lives, especially if they are unable to take up a full-time job.