Trends in the Online Platform Economy: Who Works Independently and Why?

Trends in the Online Platform Economy: Who Works Independently and Why?
From Recruiter - January 24, 2017

Thanks to technological advances, its easier than ever to work from the comfort of ones own home. As a result, to online platform economy (OPE) hasattracted a significant number of workers.

The OPE is composed ofpeople who use online platforms to connect withtemporary work opportunities, like freelance writers, Uber drivers, and Airbnb landlords.In 2016, nearly 40 million Americans participated in the OPE, according to theState of Independence in America 2016, a report fromMBO Partners, which provides technology solutions that connect self-employed professionals and their clients.

Societal perceptions of what constitutes normal work have shifted dramatically thanks to the OPE. This past November, global think tank JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) Institute explored these changes in the reportThe Online Platform Economy: Has Growth Peaked?

For Many, the OPE Isnt a Long-Term Source of Employment

In any given month, one in six independent workers is new to the independent workforce, according to the JPMC Institute report. In addition, more than half of those workers will exit the OPE within a year.

The study suggests that participants in the OPE dont treat their platform jobs like a traditional nine-to-five role and therefore often leave within a year, says Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners.

Zaino notes that this is not the first time hes seen data like this.

We see some independents who dont necessarily want to be self-employed in our own State of Independence study as well, he says.

In the MBO study, 1 in 10 full-time workers reportedthey were not independent by choice.

These workers tend to leave independence when they find a full-time role in traditional employment, Zaino explains. Its important to take all of these studies with a grain of salt and to remember that when it comes to independents, one size does not fit all.

According to Zaino, platform- and app-based workers mainly participate in the OPE in order to supplement their income, learn new skills, or interact with other people. These workers are likely to join and leave the OPEfrequently.


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