Social enterprises must join forces to tackle ‘gig economy’

Social enterprises need to work together and collaborate in order to solve many of the issues presented by the ‘gig economy’, according to a new report.

The report by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), and supported by the Mastercard Impact Fund and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth argues that social enterprises must work together towards a common purpose.

It highlights examples of the work many social enterprises and doing, particularly in helping vulnerable groups succeed in the changing world of work and calls for these innovators to collaborate to collectively address the insecurity created by the gig economy.

The study adds for many young people entering the labour market, a career is no longer a source of a ‘stable identity’, but will require a series of ‘transitions between overlapping projects’

‘Gig work offers people flexibility, but there is also a concern that it is ‘one-sided’ with employers seeking to transfer all risk onto the shoulders of workers in ways which make people more insecure,’ the report adds.

The report adds gig economy workers miss out on the sick pay, regular hours, mortgage verification, pension contributions, parental leave and paid holidays that employees take for granted.

In addition to the emergence of the gig economy, it also warns that a ‘chasm’ has emerged between high-skilled and low-skilled workers which contributes to the increased polarisation in society.

It argues that social enterprises and other mission-orientated organisations have a strong role to play in addressing these challenges, but it also adds social ‘entrepreneurs cannot succeed in isolation’.

Instead, it argues they should collaborate and ‘move fast and fix things’ in order to develop a strong ‘narrative’ or ‘story’ to engage external audiences like potential investors and service users in their work

And it adds they should also be mindful of new legislation, and the opportunity new policies present to bring about new tools and solutions that government couldn’t procure for itself, as well as leveraging the issue to raise awareness of their work in the public debate.

‘Our research found excellent examples of how social innovators are pioneering the find solutions, but at the moment collectively these are not addressing the problem at scale,’ said report author, Rowan Conway.

‘We need to see civil society funders encourage social entrepreneurship by encouraging cooperation to succeed collectively at scale: as our partnership with Mastercard has shown, the enemy needs to be economic insecurity – not other innovators and disrupters.’

The full report – The Impact Entrepreneur: Building a New Platform for Economic Security in Work – is available to read here.

Photo Credit – StartupStockPhotos (Pixabay)

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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