The Revolution will be Freelanced

Nov 20, 2018

A great friend linked this image from the Aspen Institute, which is the motivation behind Atlas Certified.

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JPMorgan Chase Institute (JPMCI) also released a new report in November: The Online Platform Economy: Has Growth Peaked? As in its previous studies, JPMCI uses actual customer data, and specifically deposits of income into customer accounts, to draw conclusions about the size and trajectory of the Online Platform Economy. This report raises some questions about the sustainability of labor supply for online platform economy models. A few of their key insights:

Monthly participation in online labor platforms continues to grow, though the rate of growth has slowed, from over 200% annual growth in 2014 to 171% halfway through 2016. Total participation in online labor platforms reached 0.5% in June 2016.
Despite rising participation, monthly earnings have fallen by 6% over the last two years.
Turnover in the online platform economy is high; 17% of workers on labor platforms are new in any given month, and 52% of workers exit the online labor platform economy within a year. This reliance on new workers is important because as the traditional labor market strengthens, recruiting and retaining online platform workers may become more difficult.
Time Gig Economy
There is no one name—whether sharing economy, gig economy or on-­demand economy—that captures the diversity of this disruption. But it’s clear that the demand for this way of working and consuming is profound. According to a first-of-its-kind poll from TIME, strategic communications and global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative, 44% of U.S. adults have participated in such transactions, playing the roles of lenders and borrowers, drivers and riders, hosts and guests. The number this represents, more than 90 million people, is greater than the number of Americans who identify, respectively, as Republicans or Democrats. (Poll figures exclude adults who are not Internet users.) “This is a disruptive explosion that we’re seeing,” says Michael Solomon, a professor of marketing at Saint Joseph’s University. “Is it good or bad for workers? The real question is, What kind of worker are we talking about?”

That question is at the center of several lawsuits about how many of these companies have classified their workers. TIME’s poll of 3,000 people, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland in late November, found that 22% of American adults, or 45 million people, have already offered some kind of good or service in this economy. And in doing so, they’ve likely made a trade-off: the typical drivers and handymen using these platforms have operated as independent contractors, which means they enjoy the freedom of working without set hours but are not afforded the safety nets that traditional 9-to-5 employees have. In return, companies like Uber and Postmates save fortunes on employee-­related expenses such as payroll taxes but must give up control over exactly how and when workers do their jobs. Questions about liability and ­responsibility—and whether these companies are exercising more control than they’re acknowledging—have led to protests, bans and referendums from San Francisco to New York.

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