Home' Forge : Vol 2 No 4 Contents FAST LANE // 9
Global workforce on the
march in ‘gig economy’
Moving from ‘gig to gig’ is how millions of
independent workers now earn a living.
Working from 9 am to 5 pm for one
employer for years on end seems
archaic these days, as millions of
employees adjust to the so-called ‘gig
economy’. Increasingly, they are working
independently on a project basis, taking
one work gig after the next.
Up to 162 million people in the United
States and Europe – or 20 to 30 per cent
of the workforce – are engaged in some
form of independent work, McKinsey
Global Institute estimates. A growing
army of self-employed freelancers across
the world is providing a range of services
that were once the preserve of full- or
part-time company workers.
McKinsey says that gig economy
workers fall into four categories:
1. Free agents who actively choose
independent work and derive their
primary income from it.
2. Casual earners who choose
independent work to supplement
3. Reluctants who make their living from
independent work but would prefer full-
time traditional jobs.
4. Financially strapped people who do
independent work out of necessity.
McKinsey says that independent work
is rapidly evolving as digital platforms
create large-scale, efficient marketplaces
that connect companies and workers
in the gig economy. Fast-growing
Australian micro-jobs site Freelancer.com
is an example.
Other factors are also driving growth
in independent workers: workers
wanting more career independence;
greater demand from companies and
consumers for independent services;
and rising unemployment rates that
force more people to look for project-
based work, says McKinsey.
The management consultancy
says that independent workers
could boost the economy through
higher workforce participation,
more employment options for the
unemployed, and higher productivity.
Consumers and companies will
benefit from having flexible,
Forge magazine believes that Australian
companies will need to adjust to this
trend, to capitalise on growing ranks
of independent workers and safeguard
against the threat of more employees
who do traditional corporate jobs seeking
to work for themselves.
An ability to combine full-time workers
with those in the gig economy will
become an increasingly valuable skill
for corporates that seek a smaller full-
time workforce, supplemented by a
global army of technology-connected
McKinsey’s report, ‘Independent work,
Choice, necessity, and the gig economy’
was based on a survey of 800 workers and
was published in October 2016.
be made publicly available. The second was a consultation
paper on potential changes to disclosure requirements for The
Corporations Act for start-ups.
The Corporations Act currently requires the offer document
and other related material like financial statements to be
lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments
Commission. These documents are available for inspection
by the public – an issue that has concerned entrepreneurial
start-up founders who want maximum confidentiality around
high-growth ventures and how they incentivise key staff
through share issuance.
The government’s proposed changes to ESS disclosure should
fix that problem. ‘It is pleasing that the government has got
around to doing a number of things about the ESS rules, mainly
for start-ups and bringing the taxing point for everyone to
the time of exercise,’ said leading remuneration advisory firm
‘Australia is behind the pace with its concessions for start-ups.
Most OECD countries recognised years ago that technology
was changing the world, and they needed concessions to keep
their technologically creative talent at home.’
Guerdon says the recent tax changes for start-ups are a
welcome initiative, but adds that many listed public companies
could and should benefit from the changes.
Income tax and capital gains tax concessions for employees
of start-ups took effect from 1 July 2015. Eligible start-up
companies are private companies that have been in existence
for less than 10 years, and have aggregate turnover of less than
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