Dubai: Has the gig economy changed beyond recognition? Does it really stand for the little guy anymore? Did it ever?
The gig, or sharing economy, was originally envisaged as a way to provide people with a way to make money via the internet.
The internet has allowed private individuals to share assets and make money from them, be it a room, a whole home, a car, clothing or storage space, with others looking for a specific service. Several factors have enabled the sharing economy to experience the boom it has undergone in recent years, including reduced transaction fees, access to GPS to match you with like-minded people near you, easily accessible review forums build trust, and online payments make the process safer and more streamlined.
But beyond people renting spare bedrooms, or selling handmade jewellery and surplus spaces in their cars on long journeys, many see the giants of the industry, such as Uber and Deliveroo, as having a dark side.
It has been widely reported that those working part-time for the two companies have suffered a lack of job security, for example no holiday pay or a minimum wage.
So does the gig economy simply allow for the exploitation of desperate workers? On today’s podcast, we discuss what happens next for the deluge of start-ups offering such services, and we look at the trend of consolidation, with Uber reported to be considering acquiring both Deliveroo, and regional local rival Careem.