‘Harness gig economy to remedy skill shortages and EU uncertainty’ – REC

Filed under Press release

Thursday, 28 July 2016


The legal status of ‘gig workers’ must be clarified so that businesses and individuals can thrive, according to a new report from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). 


Gig economy - The Uberisation of work explores the impact of digital work platforms such as Upwork, Task Rabbit and Freelancer.com, which act as marketplaces matching freelancers with a wide range of project-based work. 


Almost a third of all UK employers are predicted to use digital work platforms by 2021. The REC has called on policy-makers to ensure that the gig economy is fair to self-employed workers and businesses, and to secure benefits for the UK economy.


Key recommendations to government include:  


  • Ensure that gig workers and businesses have recourse for instances of bad practice.
  • Clarify the legal and tax status of gig workers and ensure they get the same protections as other self-employed workers.
  • Look to services such as the Low Pay Commission to determine fair pay for gig workers.
  • Ensure the same rules governing the recruitment industry apply to digital work platforms, so that businesses can compete on a level playing field. 

REC chief executive Kevin Green says: 


“The gig economy is predicted to add £45 billion to the UK economy and create work for 766,000 people. Gig working is heading for the mainstream.


“This is good news for employers who will welcome tools which help them access the global talent market. The UK is close to full employment and businesses across the economy need to react to skills shortages. Current uncertainty around how the UK’s relationship with the EU will affect the jobs market is another driver for innovation. 


“Harnessing new technology which facilities gig working can provide real solutions to embedded labour market problems, but policymakers need to get to grips with these new trends so that the UK can make the most of opportunities. We must ensure that freelancers, interims and contractors who find work this way are protected. For the recruitment industry we want a level playing field on which to compete.”


This report has been produced in partnership with job site, Indeed. Bill Richards, UK Managing Director, Indeed, says: 


“The gig economy is disrupting traditional notions of employment. Just 13 per cent of British people think they will be working in traditional 9 to 5 jobs by 2025. Online job search and the rise of digital work platforms is creating a wealth of opportunities for the temporary market, with flexible working patterns a driving force behind the gig economy. 


“At Indeed, our mission is to help people get jobs. The insights raised in this report will encourage continued engagement between employers, recruiters, candidates and policymakers to protect and augment the future of work in the UK.”


Gig economy - The Uberisation of work has been produced by the REC in partnership with Indeed, as part of the Good Recruitment Campaign.




Notes to editors:


  1. Gig economy - The Uberisation of work is free to download for REC members and available to purchase at www.rec.uk.com/gigeconomy

  2. Gig economy - The Uberisation of work includes original data collected via a YouGov survey (sample size 614 GB business decision-makers), via a five-part topical question asked by ComRes as part of the monthly REC JobsOutlook survey (sample size 200 business decision-makers) and via telephone interviews with two digital work platform representatives and with 13 thought-leaders on work and employment trends. Additional supporting data was provided by: Intuit, The McKinsey Global Institute, Freelancer.com.

  3. A third of all UK employers predicted to use digital work platforms by 2021: See Gig economy - The Uberisation of work, Figure 3, p.18.
  4. The gig economy is predicted to add £45billion to the UK economy and create work for 766,000 people: Manyika, J., Lund, S., Robinson, K., Valentino, J. and Dobbs, R. (2015) ‘Connecting talent with opportunity in the digital age’. McKinsey Global Institute. Available at: www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/connecting-talent-with-opportunity-in-the-digital-age
  5. Only 13 per cent of British people think they will be working in traditional 9 to 5 jobs by 2025. See Schram, B. (2015) ‘Sharing economy: 87% of Brits see ‘gig economy’ taking over from 9–5 working days in 10 years’. International Business Times, 15 September.

  6. Gig economy - The Uberisation of work has been produced by the REC in partnership with Indeed, in support of the Good Recruitment Campaign, which aims to promote the importance of good recruitment practice for organisational success. This campaign helps organisations reinvigorate their recruiting strategies so that they provide a better candidate experience and work more effectively with recruitment partners. To find out more about the Good Recruitment Campaign, visit www.rec.uk.com/Goodrecruitment

  7. More people find jobs on Indeed than anywhere else. Indeed is the #1 job site in the world and allows job seekers to search millions of jobs on the web or mobile in over 60 countries and 28 languages. More than 180 million people each month search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies on Indeed. Indeed is also the #1 source of external hires for thousands of companies (sources: SilkRoad & iCIMS). For more information, visit www.indeed.com

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