Originally published by The Fintech Times.
The gig economy grew in huge numbers during 2021 due to the knock-on effect from the pandemic’s unemployment wave. With many people looking to get into the market, regulations has changed with new platforms being developed to help as many gig workers as possible find work and get paid seamlessly.
Giving his predictions on how the industry will change is Matt Spoke, CEO of Moves, the Digital Gig Economy Union. Moves is addressing the immense need for better financial services among gig workers across the US, and is building an ecosystem that rewards gig workers with stock ownership in the companies they’re servicing. Spoke is broadly considered a leader on the cutting edge of future-defining technologies in financial services and novel models of democratised ownership. He’s served as an advisor to governments on the regulatory implications of emerging financial technologies.
He told The Fintech Times:
2021 was a year of change and innovation for the gig economy. The pandemic and other world events led more workers to join the gig marketplace and rethink the flexibility of their careers. As we dive into 2022, the growing gig economy will face challenges and opportunities from regulations and innovations.
Patchwork of state-by-state regulations
The confusion for gig companies and workers will continue in 2022 as we see more states propose and adopt new legislation surrounding the employment classification of gig workers. We saw several examples of this in 2021. We will see more state lawmakers coming up with their own regulatory approaches based on what they are hearing from their constituents.
The increasing patchwork of regulations will continue to cause confusion for those involved in the gig economy. Gig workers will continue to navigate the regulations and try to find the methods and approaches that work best for them. Gig companies will continue to navigate what increasing patchwork regulation means for their relationship to their independent contractor workforce.
Innovation in gig marketplaces
We are seeing platforms experiment with various models and service types. Some gig economy platforms are turning to luxury items, while others are seeking different value propositions for their customers. For example, DoorDash has experimented with ultra-fast delivery options for retailers outside of food services.
In order to fulfill those value propositions, the platforms will need to tinker with the mechanics of the relationships they have with their labour forces. In 2022, this will likely mean some additional incentives for gig workers. Large players in the gig marketplace will also look to acquire smaller niche and local players in 2022 to expand revenue and market share.
Experimentation and competition
The innovation will not stop there in 2022. Major gig marketplaces will dive back into experimenting with B2B models to attract and coordinate labour into services and retail industries. We have already seen major players like Lyft experimenting with B2B delivery service.
We also will see platforms move away from food delivery as the key revenue anchor. As the service industry continues to open during the pandemic, platforms will be pressured to scale further to accommodate demand. One bright point – US gig marketplaces will experience less pressure from international gig platforms amid struggles to gain traction in the American market.
Changes and challenges in labour
One trend for 2022 will involve the gig marketplace labour force. Labour supply shortages will provide both a risk for the marketplaces in key markets and an opportunity to help coordinate pools of labour across similar sectors such as retail and service. Platforms will face increasing costs to acquire and retain their supplies of workers amid increasing competition. This may mean higher rates and increased incentives. Labour unions also will put more pressure on the gig marketplace to allow them to organize and participate in this growing workforce. I predict we will see some victories from this at the local and state level.
In 2022, participation in gig – and freelance-style employment will rise dramatically as labour force participants seek alternative arrangements, fractional income and prioritize flexibility. With increasing leverage for workers, they will take this opportunity to earn income in the structure that is most rewarding to their desired lifestyle.