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Financial institutions to step up use of gig workers – report

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The report said that the upskilling of the workforce was a key element to improving productivity within the financial services sector. That includes better understanding of the workforce, embracing the platform economy and gig workers, and equipping employees with the right digital tools, specialist knowledge, and soft skills.

“Firms need new capabilities – both in-house and through outsourcing – as technology solutions increasingly involve collaboration with third parties,” PwC said.

While there is increasing access to on-demand talent, the survey found that most institutions still rely primarily on full-time and part-time employees. Contractors accounted for just 9% of the workforce among respondents, and gig-economy workers made up just 5%. PwC predicted that gig employees would likely perform 15% to 20% of the work at a typical institution within five years, driven by cost pressures and the need to access digitally skilled talent.

Crowdsourcing was also highlighted as a key contributor to improving productivity. Crowdsourcing has more than doubled since 2018, as cited by 50% of survey respondents, up from 21% in PwC’s previous survey. Eighty percent of respondents who used crowdsourcing believed in added “high value” to their organizations. That’s up from just 39% who felt it would add value in 2018.

Read more: What gig workers need to know about their workers’ compensation rights

“Leaders in the industry are looking seriously at their workforces to evaluate which roles need to be performed by permanent employees and which can be performed by gig-economy workers, contractors, or even crowd-sourced on a case-by-case basis,” said John Garvey, global financial services leader for PwC US. “COVID-19 and remote working have opened the door to accessing talent outside of a firm’s physical location, including outside of the country. What we are seeing now is a talent marketplace for gig workers in financial services, competing to take advantage of their specialist skillset and boost productivity within their businesses.”

“Gig economy workers also add value by immediately bringing the digital skills needed by financial services firms to improve functions such as customer experience and improving institutional resilience, while the full-time workforce is being upskilled,” said Nicole Wakefield, global financial services advisory leader for PwC Singapore.

However, obstacles remain for financial services firms looking to utilize gig work. The most common issues cited in the report included confidentiality concerns (44%), a lack of knowledge (43%), regulatory risk (42%), and overall risk avoidance (37%).

“Many of the most valuable companies in the world share one thing in common: they have embraced the platform economy as a business model,” Garvey said. “They operate with relatively few full-time employees, and an increasing percentage of gig-economy talent and skills that they can access on demand, making the organizations far more innovative, nimble, and cost-efficient.”

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Why faster payments are critical to the gig economy

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More people are joining the gig economy, and a major driver of this trend — particularly for those working multiple gigs — is a need for faster access to cash to meet expenses.

The gig economy has proven flexible during the pandemic. When ride sharing cooled as fewer consumers traveled, food delivery services exploded. As Airbnb vacation rentals dropped, they were replaced by Airbnb home rentals as newly sequestered workers decided remote work could allow them to trade apartments in New York and Chicago for beach and mountain homes in Florida and Colorado.



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European Commission to consult over future of gig economy

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Photo: Shutterstock

The European Commission on Wednesday began its consultation on the rights of gig economy workers whose labour is governed by digital platforms.

The commission’s process is made up of two parts: the first, which will last six weeks, will see businesses, workers and unions consulted on “the need and direction of possible EU action to improve the working conditions in platform work”; the second, to take place later in the spring, will see concrete proposals formulated and legislation introduced if no agreement is reached in the first stage.

Among the key issues to be addressed, in addition to employment status, will be algorithmic management, collective representation and access to social protections with the EU officials aware that, according to jobs commissioner Nicolas Schmit, “there is not white and black or there is not just one-size-fits-all. There is a big variety in the world of platforms.”

First soundings suggest the commission wants to preserve platorm-based gig economy work. Margrethe Vestager, competition commissioner and chair of the Europe Fit for the Digital Age group, said: “The platform economy is here to stay– new technologies, new sources of knowledge, new forms of work will shape the world in the years ahead.”

However: “And for all of our work on the digital economy, these new opportunities must not come with different rights. Online just as offline, all people should be protected and allowed to work safely and with dignity.”

She identified the most crucial issue was “to find a balance between making the most of the opportunities of the platform economy and ensuring that the social rights of people working in it are the same as in the traditional economy” adding there was “also a matter of a fair competition and level playing field between platforms and traditional companies that have higher labour costs because they are subject to traditional labour laws.”

She said she was not looking at creating a new category of worker: “In my experience, discussions become extremely complex when you want to create a new category. We’re not in any process to create a third category. But we think that here in the consultation, it’s important that we get the feedback on exactly this.”

Uber said it welcomed the consultation: “We welcome the steps taken by the European Commission to improve the conditions of platform work,” said a spokesperson. “Any legislative initiative should be grounded in what platform workers value most – flexibility and control over their work, transparent and fair earnings, access to benefits and protections, and meaningful representation.”

Last week’s judgment in the UK Supreme Court, which ruled Uber drivers were workers because, said the judge, the relationship between it and its drivers was one of “subordination and dependency”, could lead to changes in the UK that will inform the commission’s discussion.

However, centre and left-wing political groupings in Europe are campaigning on the basis that platform workers should be employees. Alongside trade unions such as the European Transport Workers’ Federation – a participant in the consultation – they believe the onus should be on the platforms to prove that their “contractors” aren’t employees, rather than the other way round.

“To change the game of the gig economy, in principle all platform workers must be considered as employees,” said Dutch MEP Agnes Jongerius, a European parliament spokesperson for the employment and social affairs committee. Another member of the committee, French MEP Sylvie Brunet, published a draft report on the rights of platform workers this week, which called on the EU to draw up legislation to “counter bogus self-employment”.

Groups representing companies’ interests such as BusinessEurope do not wish to see an EU-wide definition of employee, which they say should be defined on a national level. Unless an agreement is reached at stage one of the European Commission’s consultation, it is likely that digital platform workers on the Continent will be subject to a patchwork of national case law for at least a year to come, because it is thought coming up with legislation will be a long drawn-out process.

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How the Gig Economy Helps American Workers, Explained

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Sure, you know that being an Uber driver is great for someone who wants to make their own hours. But did you know that many Americans are choosing freelance work because they need flexibility because of family or other responsibilities?

Did you know that small businesses rely on independent contractors? Or that Americans who were once discouraged because they couldn’t make a job work with their lifestyle are now able to work?

But unfortunately, the gig economy is under attack by leftists. In California, a new law has made many such flexible jobs illegal.

In this “Policy Lab” episode, posted above, we have the facts on the gig economy. Check it out—and if you’re interested in watching more “Policy Lab” episodes, you can view them here.



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