Governments prepare for the future gig economy

If the gig economy was booming before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, demand has skyrocketed since early 2020. Also known as the ‘platform economy’, it proved to be a lifeline for many during lockdown imposed restrictions and for those in self-isolation.

In 2021, the global gig economy is estimated to reach a worth of $347bn. This estimate represents a greater than 50% increase from a market value of $204bn in 2018. In their recent study, Bodmin predicted a continuous upward trajectory that will reach $455bn by 2023.

The European Purpose Project

While this is good news for the companies operating in the sector, there’s currently little protection for its workers. The European Purpose Project, helmed by four significant players within the gig economy, is campaigning for better employment rights across European workforces. They’re asking other employers in the sector to accept a new code of conduct that will set standards across the industry on working conditions, labor practices, and social rights for employees, whatever their employment status. They’re taking inspiration from the state of California, where landmark laws are already in place. These put the onus on employers to prove that these workers are self-employed. If they fail to do so, they must offer them the same benefits as full-time employees.

Concurrently, Industry 4.0, sometimes referred to as the Fifth Industrial Revolution, is firing warning shots across the global workplace, discussing long-term labor market strategy and new policies for the future workplace. What many of the news stories miss, however, is that people should be at the heart of labor market solutions post-pandemic.

Emphasizing skills and training in pandemic responses

Whichever of the many proposed scenarios come to fruition, skills assessment, development, and retraining is a surefire investment that will leave workforces equipped to adapt and thrive in any landscape. Public employment strategists must enable workers to grasp opportunities within the new work model. One of the starting points is understanding how existing roles have also been affected by the rapid acceleration of technology during the pandemic. While this has enabled greater flexibility in work and immersive techniques in recruitment, it’s important to note that it will have an uneven impact on job losses across different sectors.

During the pandemic, many self-employed people who saw their incomes disappear could claim support, with many countries worldwide offering different packages of support. Now, as we return to normality and this support gradually disappears, the workforce needs to create a contingency plan for their careers in the same manner as a business will future proof its operations. The gig economy may exist almost entirely in the private sector, but the responsibility for helping workers to navigate it lies with public employment services. Since successful economies depend on high employment, giving the economically active workforce the tools to withstand turbulence and fluctuations in demand is critical to a region or country’s success.

Artificial intelligence with tangible human results

WCC’s solutions for public employment services go beyond ‘smart’ to offer a new level of detail that surpasses traditional techniques. We’ve helped governments in many countries refocus their employment strategies by delivering technical solutions that transcend and improve on conventional face-to-face assessments instead of replicating them. They achieve this by looking for possibilities, rather than being rooted in expectation, and interpreting free text to uncover more detail about tasks, competencies, and individuals. Even in a one-to-one interview, an applicants’ past career and the narrow confines of a checklist approach to assessment can fail to reveal their true potential.

WCC solutions for Public Employment Services

WCC’s solutions look outside the box, employing sophisticated algorithms and taxonomies that reveal aptitudes and the expanse of skills that an individual possesses. Once our EP Match Module reveals an adjacent match for a new career, it quickly identifies the training needed to address any gaps. As a result, transitioning into a previously unknown role or sector is suddenly within reach for millions of jobseekers and could require less time and investment than previously thought.

Workers in the gig economy, plus long-term unemployed and other unique groups, can be targeted after our EP Profiling Module has identified specific measures that will accelerate their chances of employment.

Supportive and optimistic

A supportive and optimistic approach is the perfect antidote to the fear and disillusionment of many jobseekers. This is especially true for those jobseekers who feel trapped by a perceived lack of transferability or have seen their careers diminished by the pandemic. As the workforce transitions to individuals experiencing multiple careers across a working lifetime, it is necessary to equip PES caseworkers with sensitive, comprehensive, and proactive methods to unlock the talents and achievements of which a country’s workforce is capable.

Find out more about our solutions for Public Employment Services here.

Article by: WCC Community
Published on: September 30, 2021

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