Increasing number of small businesses reliant on gig economy workers

A new study suggests that an increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now reliant on so-called ‘gig economy’ workers.

As many as one in ten SME decision makers recently told a survey carried out by Zurich that gig economy workers now make up 90 per cent of their workforce or more.

Meanwhile, more than two in five said that such workers make up at least 25 per cent of their workforce.

According to the report, the majority of SME decision makers believe that flexible workers are important to their business, while two thirds of managers believe that such workers are crucial to their company’s profitability.

However, two in five of those quizzed said that they feared their reliance on gig economy workers could result in an ultimate lack of security and stability for their business going forward.

A further two in five also voiced concerns that gig economy or flexible staff were less dedicated or less motivated than their full-time counterparts.

Overall, more than a quarter of SMEs said that they had employed at least one gig economy worker or more over the last 12 months, and the vast majority agreed that the gig economy gives them greater scope to “better manage workforce capacity.”

Paul Tombs, of Zurich, said: “With so many UK SMEs employing gig economy workers, it would be a mistake to characterise the entire gig economy as an exploitative tool that only benefits employers.

“Self-employment is on the rise and demonstrates an increasing demand for flexible work which is beginning to shape the way that businesses think about workforce management”.