Where Next for the Gig Economy and Precarious Work Post COVID-19?
The global pandemic exposes the inherent precarity at the heart of the gig economy for governments, organisations and individuals. But will conditions for precarious workers change post the crisis?
The COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented global challenges that have fundamentally impacted the way in which individuals conduct and experience their daily lives. As the disruption unfolds, the World Economic Forum have identified those reliant on the gig economy for work as among the hardest hit. In our recent interdisciplinary analysis of the amorphous gig economy, precarity emerged as the central tenet for understanding the tensions created, not only for individuals but also organisational structures and welfare systems. Whilst precarious work is not a new feature of capitalist societies, it is argued neoliberalism and associated discourses of flexibility and freedoms have exacerbated the conditions of precarity we see in the gig economy and are amplified in the current crisis.
Will the current crisis propel a response from stakeholder groups (e.g. gig based work platforms, governments, individuals, trade unions etc.) to change the trajectory and precarity inherent in the gig economy? Based on the findings of our recent interdisciplinary analysis of the gig economy, any hope for improvements after COVID-19 remains unlikely without significant legislative change.