How we as a society respond to the impact of gig work on the labour market is a crucial early test of how we will manage increasingly radical changes as a result of tech advancements such as artificial intelligence and automation. “The hope is that we can leverage technology for the benefit of workers,” says UK-based The RSA in its Good gigs: A fairer future for the UK’s gig economy report.
The RSA’s view is that government needs to be clearer about how technological innovation – in this case, platforms in the gig economy – can raise the quality and security of work in the long-term. This means that government should continue to support platforms, but can no longer remain agnostic about the different business models used by them.
The RSA says it wants government to adopt a shared regulation approach that will require the state to work in a more collaborative way and appeal to a range of stakeholders to help establish key principles of good work in the gig economy. “Government may take the lead in distinguishing what good work looks like, but businesses and civil society are crucial in making good work a reality,” the RSA says.
In addition, the RSA thinks the wider infrastructure of the gig economy should be developed, and sustainable business models encouraged, in part through addressing the systemic drivers of market conditions.
“Conditions in the gig economy are not created in a vacuum, and so more thought should be given to why businesses make the choices that they do and how new models of operating can be inspired by, for example, fostering alternatives to venture capital for financing entrepreneurship. Technological innovation doesn’t need to be feared if it is nurtured with more than profits in mind.”
Image: Steve Mullins