Are self-employed workers getting the short end of the stick?
Both employers and workers are continuing to move towards a more temporary and independent workforce, according to EY Research. Why would employers move towards a more contingent workforce? Key reasons are cited as:
- Making use of capability that does not exist in the permanent workforce
- Helping to manage labour costs
- To target resistance to change in the organisation
- To cater for seasonal work demands.
But a new report from the UKs Social Market Foundation has highlighted some interesting findings. So-called ‘self-employed’ workers may be getting the short end of the stick.
Emran Mian, Director of the Social Market Foundation, says:
“[The data] suggests that self-employed workers may be getting the worst of both worlds… people may behave very much like employees and yet lack the rights and protections of employees.”
The self-employed are getting less support generally. Traditional employees are twice as likely to get training, and they also take double the number of sick days. What’s more, the self-employed are less likely to be paid for their overtime. Whilst many of them report increased autonomy over working hours, which is cited as a big perk of being self-employed, about 20% of them did not report that autonomy.
Although most self-employed workers from the EY study felt the benefits of contingent work outweigh the downsides (66%), a rather lager 58% felt that permanent employees were treated better than them. And 68% would like more options around pensions and healthcare.
“It’s critical for employers to develop better methods of managing their increasingly contingent workforce and to consider some of the key HR processes and analytics that can have a negative effect on what could ideally be a mutually beneficial relationship.” Tony Steadman, Principal in EY’s People Advisory Services.
We are moving to the gig economy and the prevalence of the ‘everyday entrepreneur’ will increase, where people control their own time and service provision. We need to keep exploring what we can do within our own context to ensure that everybody wins.