Today more than 25 per cent of SME businesses warmly welcome so-called gig economy relationships, employing at least one worker on a zero-hours contract, according to the Zurich SME Risk Index.
A clear advantage was profitability for businesses – 70 per cent of employers who used these workers reported that they were important to the company’s overall profitability and efficiency. One in ten of these decision makers (10 per cent) reported that gig economy workers made up 90 per cent of their workforce or even more, while more than two in five (41 per cent) reported that this type of workers made up at least a quarter of the company workforce.
Flexibility for workers
Almost three in five (58 per cent) stated that they believed the gig economy provided “flexibility for workers”, while more than a third (34 per cent) said that gig economy work provided “new opportunities” for workers and was “time efficient” (28 per cent).
A big drawback for a gig economy system was the lack of security for workers. More than half (52 per cent) agreed that gig economy work “lacks security”, while more than a quarter (27 per cent) agreed it can be “exploitative” and a fifth (20 per cent) were of the opinion that the arrangement could be “unfair” on workers.
Many businesses were concerned that a gig economy would decrease productivity – 40 per cent of employers thought it make workers less dedicated, and 30 per cent said that they would create a less motivated workforce.
Flexibility for business
Almost three in five (57 per cent) agreed that zero-hour contract work was “flexible for businesses”, and nearly two in five (38 per cent) thought it created greater opportunity to “better manage workforce capacity and effectiveness”.