A trade between flexibility and security: examining the evolution of non-standard work arrangements and ways to rebalance the position of gig workers in the labor exchange

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

In the last decade employment in the gig economy has been rising rapidly with business organisations increasingly utilising flexible “on demand” employment practices to boost their competitiveness. This flexible employment model allows employers to benefit from low labor cost as they transfer security and health costs to governments and workers. Policy reports lists many problems deriving from this unequal model that fractures traditional reciprocal labor exchange, and in most cases, leads to underemployment, in-work poverty, health and safety breaches, exhaustion and poor workers’ wellbeing. Despite the proliferation of deteriorating work and employment conditions, predictions suggest that gig workers will soon outnumber traditional employees due to a lack of good quality full-time jobs. But the state of gig economy observed today showcases a fractured system of work and employment. The social consequences of insecure, informal and precarious employment do not match world-wide aspirations of governments for fair, inclusive and productive economies. This chapter, firstly, revisits the evolution of non-standard employment arrangements in the formal and informal contexts to scrutinize the employers’ logic and point out shortcomings of unbalanced distribution of benefits in the labor exchange. Secondly, using an example of project-work originally devised in arts, it examines circumstances under which flexible work arrangements are justified by the nature of production. Thirdly, the chapter suggests some general avenues to tackle the damaging gig employment practices through a rage of hard and soft approaches built on principles of fairness, dignity and social justice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of the Gig Economy
EditorsImmanuel Ness
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN (Print)9780367752903
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks
PublisherRoutledge

Keywords

  • gig work
  • gig workers
  • gig economy
  • labor market
  • contingent workers
  • flexible work
  • non-standard work arrangements
  • projects
  • artists and creative professionals
  • Covid-19
  • tackling gig problems

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A trade between flexibility and security: examining the evolution of non-standard work arrangements and ways to rebalance the position of gig workers in the labor exchange'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this