Quality work on the fringes

Stabilizing the Gig Economy

35% of adults are now reliant on at least some ad-hoc employment. That’s rocketing up in the pandemic. How can public agencies support this hard-pressed workforce?


Employment is fragmenting. Odd hours of work through platforms like Uber are just the tip of an iceberg. Tens of millions of corporate W2 employees don’t know next week’s hours or pay. Ad-hoc work found offline in the informal economy is bigger than “gigging” through platforms.

Anyone reliant on irregular work faces common problems: insecurity, financial volatility, lack of bargaining power, inability to progress, challenges with family life. There’s a shortage of official data, so their issues can easily be overlooked.

But public agencies could initiate a large-scale, better, model for irregular work. It’s based around protections, progression, control, stability, ladders into jobs and alignment with local economic growth. Funded by four national philanthropies, that award-winning initiative was starting in Los Angeles County. Public agencies accelerated that launch to be ready for pandemic response/recovery. Read our briefing on the value of flexible work/volunteering/ public services during the emergency.

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3-minute read