A new study from Statistics Canada — the first to quantify the effect of the gig economy on our workforce — has found a dramatic increase in gig workers, with much of the growth concentrated among immigrants, women and low-income Canadians. The study, released Monday, found that the number of gig workers jumped by 70 per cent between 2005 and 2016, from 1 million to 1.7 million — an increase from 5.5 per cent of all workers aged 15 and older to 8.2 per cent. In Toronto, as of 2016, one out of every 10 workers participated in the gig economy for at least some of their income, according to the report, titled Measuring the Gig Economy in Canada using Administrative Data. Despite the rapid expansion, the gig economy footprint has almost certainly expanded since 2016, said Sheila Block, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, suggesting that recent labour force data showing very low unemployment amid self employment gains “reinforces the idea that much of the growth in employment has been in gig work.”
A new survey suggests millions of Canadians are working in the “gig economy,” and the country is divided over whether that’s a good or bad thing. The data, published Tuesday by the Angus Reid Institute, suggested nearly one in five Canadians (17 per cent) are currently earning a living off temporary jobs, while the same percentage of respondents said they had worked precarious jobs in the past five years and aren’t currently. That means more than a third of Canadian workers (34 per cent) have already participated in the gig economy, according to Angus Reid.
Just over a million Canadians are now juggling more than one job and work an average of 50 hours a week, according to a new Statistics Canada survey. The number of people working multiple jobs has almost doubled since 1978, rising rapidly in the 1980s, then edging up to 5.7% of the Canadian workers in 2018, according to the report, titled Multiple Jobholders in Canada. Women, part-time workers and people in their 20s are more likely to hold multiple jobs, the report said.
For every benefit provided by rideshare apps (convenience most of all), it’s worth considering the sizable trade-offs. This article from SFGate explains how staffing a restaurant has become more difficult in the age of Uber and Lyft, when workers can opt for the more flexible hours of rideshare driving versus the more traditional path of working as a line cook or dishwasher—jobs that usually pay less than driving.
Uber is diving deeper into the gig economy on Friday with the launch of a new app for on-demand workers looking for temporary positions. Uber Works, which matches workers with blue-collar event jobs such as cooks and waiters, will launch in Chicago on Friday, the company said Wednesday. Uber has been working on the project in stealth mode in Chicago for the past year and previously experimented with it in Los Angeles. It'd operate as its own venture, similar to Uber's food delivery service, Uber Eats, and its self-driving car business, Uber Advanced Technologies Group. "We believe a new, technology-first approach can provide faster and easier means for people to get work, while offering greater insight into the many opportunities for work that are out there -- improving the experience for workers and businesses alike," Uber said in a blog post Wednesday.
Since the term “gig economy” was popularized around the height of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, task-based labour has evolved and has become a significant factor in the overall economy. The concept of creating an income from short-term tasks has been around for a long time. The gig economy is very broad, and encompasses workers who are full-time independent contractors (consultants, for example) to people who moonlight by driving for Uber or Lyft several hours a week. In some cases the worker is a small business owner, and in others they’re freelancers who are paid to complete discrete projects for larger organizations. Musicians, photographers, writers, truck drivers and tradespeople have traditionally been gig workers. (In fact, the term “gig” arguably came from the music industry. “[O]riginally in the argot of jazz musicians, attested from 1915 but said to have been in use c. 1905; of uncertain origin.”)