More people would consider gig economy work if employment rights improved, PwC study finds

PUBLISHED: 08:50 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:26 10 July 2017

File photo of a Deliveroo cycle rider in central London.  Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

File photo of a Deliveroo cycle rider in central London. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire


More people would work in the so-called gig economy if employment rights and job security were improved, according to a report.

A survey of 2,000 adults by professional services group PwC showed that while most preferred full-time employment, almost half would consider short-term, casual work offered by gig firms, which currently operate typically in the delivery or taxi trades.

The number would increase if employment rights improved, said the study, published ahead of an eagerly-awaited report for the government by Matthew Taylor on the gig economy.

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Julian Sansum, employment partner at PwC, said: “A flexible labour force is one of the UK’s strengths, and key to driving competitiveness and productivity, but it needs to be a win-win for both employers and workers.

“Our research shows that while many workers are open to the idea of gig working, for many their concerns over job security and being able to generate sufficient income still outweigh the benefits this type of work can offer.

“A balance needs to be struck between promoting flexibility and ensuring employees have sufficient employment rights and protections.

“In order for gig working to prosper, we need a tax system that is simple, workable, efficient and does not lead to distortions. Offering education and training alongside increased workers’ rights will be vital to ensure that people are able to move easily between different roles and that no-one gets left behind as the job market evolves.”

The report by Mr Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, is expected to be published this week.

Delivery firm Deliveroo sparked a fresh row over the status of workers in the gig economy after calling on the government to update legislation.

The company said changes would give self-employed people greater security while maintaining the flexibility they want.

Current employment laws prevent companies from extending some of the entitlements that are open to “workers” without calling into question the status of its riders, who are classed as self-employed, it said in evidence to the Taylor review.

Unions countered that there was nothing stopping Deliveroo from paying its workforce the minimum wage and guaranteeing them basic rights like holiday and sick pay.

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