Advanced markets for irregular work

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Low-skilled employment is disintegrating. Instead of steady jobs, workers are summoned and paid as required hour-by-hour. This demands a new kind of labor market.

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“Gig work” platforms make headlines. But they are the tip of an iceberg. For tens of millions of corporate employees, fluctuating hours are replacing traditional employment. Meanwhile, America’s shadow economy has reached 10% of GDP. The bulk of this under-the-table activity is low-paid, irregular, hourly work.

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30% of all workers could already be in this pattern of employment, often outside the formal economy. Their work is typically insecure without benefits, prospects or protections.

 

There are many interventions that could help this workforce. But the underlying need is for a marketplace genuinely built around the interests of workers. Operating at scale, it has to allow every person to sell hours of their choosing, on their own terms, across as many types of work as they wish. Each needs a personal pathway to increased stability, skills and earnings.

These markets must enforce all the rules. Employers will be in healthy competition for the provenly reliable workers. But they are able to develop pre-trained pools of local people. Ordering vetted extra headcount can be low overhead and one-click easy.

 

Britain’s government has funded technology and learning around these markets. It is being carried forwards by the independent Beyond Jobs project and is freely available worldwide.

 

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