Desire for a better work-life balance is encouraging a growing number of people to walk away from traditional careers in favour of a portfolio of part-time work. While working long hours in a fast-paced company used to be the sign of success, changing attitudes towards work, coupled with the use of technology, has fuelled the growing part-time sector dubbed the “gig economy”. People are increasingly willing to work in a flexible way, according to Peter Glover, senior research manager at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
He said the trend was particularly appealing for young people and workers approaching or past retirement age, “whereas for the middle-aged with a mortgage and fixed responsibilities, it’s not so great because you don’t have the same stable income stream”. Glover predicted that the gig economy was likely to grow in line with US trends, where freelancers account for 34% of the workforce.
Task Rabbit, the online company that outsources jobs for its workers, said its members included professionals in their 20s, stay-at-home mothers and retired people. Uber, the taxi service, said that many of its drivers “work around other commitments such as family responsibilities, studies or other jobs”.
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