During the last decade, new models of employment have emerged that have restructured work, but also altered the notion of the “workplace”. Some 150 million workers in North America and Western Europe have left their traditional jobs to work as independent contractors. Working as a freelancer is not always a decision that peope are led to by choice, but more usually out of necessity, a trend that mainly characterises the workforce of the so-called “gig economy”. The rapid growth in the gig economy and similar models of labour that promote independent work, suggests that this is the future of work. But are we sure that this is the future that we want to build?

1 – So, first things first, what is the gig economy and why is it so controversial? Easily laid out and thorougly explained in this WIRED article.

2 – How is career success defined in this new labour model? A very recent study by Harvard Business Review reveals how independent workers maintain a “holding environment” — a physical, social, and psychological space for their work.

3 – This thougthful piece by Sarah Kessler, taken from her book “Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work”, looks at how jobs offered from smartphone apps, although offer a temporary fix to unemployment, are entirely ineffecient in solving larger economic problems such as rural poverty in parts of the US.

4 – After various reports and lawsuits against the work ethic of some of the most popular apps, like UBER and Deliveroo, the views on the gig economy are now entrenched. On that note, this Guardian article wonders, is this the new model for the working poor?

5 – Job insecurity is not a new concern for the countries ridden by the 2009 economic crisis, which were a ferticle ground for the rise of precirous part time and flexible models of work. This research focuses on four European countries and examines the consequences of the “flexicurity” model in thei employment crisis.

6 – More free time on your hands and want to learn more about the future of work? Why not try this MIT online course that explores and develops plans of action for improving the job and career opportunities for today and tomorrow’s workforce by analysing traditional work models and emerging trends.

Time is running out for our competition, so we certainly hope that we’ll receive some amazing ideas soon!

Till next time –