Quality work on the fringes

The Irregulars

Platforms like Uber are the tip of an iceberg. Irregular employment is wide-ranging; and unnecessarily hard.

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This is the world of people who don’t have regular hours or pay. They can be animal caretakers, brick-layers, cashiers, drivers, electricians, food servers, gaming dealers, hairdressers, industrial equipment operators, janitors, library assistants, manicurists, nursing assistants, office clerks, personal care aides, receptionists, security guards, tellers, ushers or waiters.

Job-hunters have an array of public services to ensure wide opportunity, actionable data and fairness. Irregulars have none. That gap has been filled by labor markets structured around short-term profits or downright exploitation.

Insight into this world remains sketchy. Informed estimates of irregulars in the workforce range from 2% to 35% and above. It depends on definition used. Much activity is in the shadow economy with no data collection. But evidence overwhelmingly points to a growing issue impacting the entire workforce.

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In this section:

Who are they? Some want irregularity, others can’t avoid it.

What’s their problem? Uncertainty, marginalization, skimpy marketplaces.

How big is this? Numbers are significant. Data gathering less so.

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