Osbourne Clarke
Maru Inplacement

The gig economy – friend or foe?

04 April 2017

Story by
Sarah Rice


What started as great press for the gig economy has quickly turned sour in recent news as publications comment on the poor pay, lacking benefits and tough demands placed on gig workers. Whilst glory initially shone on the amazing opportunities the gig economy offers to those pursuing flexible work options or an extra income, opinions since have been swayed based on the tax and regulation avoidance of those employing people without full-time contracts. So what are the motivations for gig workers and what are the downfalls? We take a look at some of the pros and cons.


Flexible working hours

The gig economy offers perfect opportunities for those who need to pick up work as and when it suits them. Those pursuing other projects, supporting a family or studying, for instance, can earn an income whilst still having the time to commit to other priorities.

Additional income

Often those in full time work or those unable to commit to a full-time job still require an extra cash flow. With the option to work more or less hours as needed, gig workers can pay for their living expenses without the ties of a 9-5 job.

Style of work

Full-time contracts often come with the extra baggage of tough entry requirements and long recruitment processes. For talented workers who want to enter the workforce quickly, contracting can be a quicker way to get employed whilst learning new skills which can build a comprehensive freelance portfolio. Those who suddenly find themselves unemployed for any reason also have the option of a quick-entry to work without a long period of job applications.


Lack of stability

As easy as gig workers can enter work there are also low barriers to exit. Any given source of contract work can dry up quickly and gig workers find themselves without the protection that full-time contract workers will have if they are to be made redundant. A sudden lack of demand, over-staffing or budget costs can find you without employment leaving your income in a potentially fragile state.

Benefits and protection

Full-time contracts ensure workers are protected and have a right to employment benefits, gig workers are without these perks. Protection like severance pay, disability leave, PTO, sick days, and pensions are some of the things not afforded to those working within the gig economy.

We want to hear your opinion! Comment or tweet us to join the discussion – @thehrworld



Latest News

Register for Membership Today

Become a part of our exclusive members network of HR heroes who are taking on today’s biggest challenges in the workforce.