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UK gig economy doubles in size in 3 years

Matthew Brew
Matthew Brew

Gig isn’t going anywhere

The gig economy is booming. In a mere three years the number of working-age adults employed in gig work has doubled, from 1 in 20 in 2016 to 1 in 10 in 2019 according to recent figures from the Trade Union Congress and University of Hertfordshire. Other research has shown similar figures, which we touch on here

These figures translate to 4.7 million active in the gig economy nationally, not accounting for those who have been employed in gig work in the past. If we look at the number of working-age adults in the UK who have worked gig jobs at some stage, the number shoots up further - to 7.5 million, or one in 7.

This is an astounding amount. To contextualise, 7.5 million is greater than the populations Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Sheffield combined - a small army! And the workforce is only continuing to evolve in this direction. 

Why is gig work being favoured?

We are strong believers that it boils down to a few changes happening in tandem. For starters, deskless working has been on the up globally for a number of years now. Projections are that by 2020, 50% of the global workforce will be mobile. In addition to this, we are also seeing...

  1. An increasingly younger workforce - 75% of the workforce will be made up of millennials by 2025;

  2. That the way we consume information and communicate has fundamentally changed with the advent of the smartphone

The numbers are undeniable - the way we work is undergoing a seismic shift. We’re living through a global workforce revolution, steered by the flexibility remote work affords, the younger average age of the workforce and the technology this workforce has grown up using.

And because of the “technologification” of society, there’s an ever-growing desire for a 9-5 that functions more like your 5-9. To translate - people long for a work day that is technologically effortless, and resembles the way they navigate their mobile-oriented leisure time. 

Where does eduMe fit into this all?

We’re glad you asked 😎 

The same study found that 60% of people who receive an income from gig work at least once a week were aged between 16-34. How best to communicate, engage and train your gig employees who by nature are dispersed and deskless, and by nurture use their smartphones for all their needs? 

The answer: mobile

It’s the number one way to effectively reach the changing workforce. Smartphone penetration far exceeds that of desktop and laptops, with 70% of us using our mobiles to learn. Need a recipe? Head to your mobile’s search engine and access it within minutes. And with remote work on the rise, this will simply become more the case. In spite of this, only 12% of corporate learning is mobile-forward. 

“Mobile is the fastest growing technology in human history” 

Peoples’ B2C experiences, i.e. streaming services, on-demand food delivery, influence their B2B expectations, i.e. how you deliver your services to them as a company. And how do you provide consistent onboarding to new joiners, keep people updated consistently and at the point of need, deliver continuous learning and create a sense of belonging when everyone is in a different place? 

Face to face interaction is expensive and unscalable. Emails aren’t always easily accessed suffer low engagement. Traditional eLearning tools are often unengaging and don’t focus on retention. It’s short-form content that works best - resulting in 20% higher information retention. This fits ideally into gig workers’ days that are full of inevitable starts and stops. 

eduMe offers highly accessible, engaging up-skilling opportunities and the ability to surface what your remote workforce needs, when they need it. Through motivating and engaging, your workforce can operate at its peak. We call this empowerment of your people Workforce Success. And we believe it’s the only answer to effectively communicating, engaging and training in this time of radical workforce restructuring.  

See how you can achieve Workforce Success in the gig economy.

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