Before the gig economy became a byword for door dash, ride-sharing, and all the rest, the flexible no-contract work that personifies the industry was rife in tech – and it still is. Indeed, according to a study analyzed by Nextgov, flexible workers in the tech industry are some of the happiest in the industry. Alongside blockchain, stable cryptocurrency and the IoT, the gig economy is part of the industry supercharging the next stage of the tech industry and will be of crucial importance – the key is in ensuring that these workers are properly protected and enjoy the same rights and career opportunities that anyone else does.
Work rights flashpoints
As it stands, tech workers within the gig economy are able to work as flexibly as they do due to the lack of contracts. They are not considered employees, which brings with it a number of entitlements and responsibilities on the part of the company; however, that may change. As Time highlights, there are federal changes being pushed forward by Biden that would reclassify many gig workers as employees. This news can be met in one of two ways. One group that is disadvantaged by the gig economy is workers with disabilities. While workers with disability are protected to the same extent as any other employee, gig worker or not, there are difficulties associated with claiming benefits and other issues. As such, it’s important that tech industry flexible workers determine what the best association is for them – employee or not.
Better tax arrangements
According to Forbes, the tech will see even more growth in the gig economy due to better tax arrangements. A survey of gig workers, reported in November 2022, reflects the fact that many gig workers are hugely in favor of their working arrangements due to their capability to keep hold of their income and their tax affairs. In the tech industry, this can be even more favorable – contractors can be paid extremely well and would like to have tight control over their finances in order to take advantage of their options.
Room for improvement
The tech industry is noted for its rough work/life balance. This is especially pronounced in industries such as game design – the ‘crunch’ period, where a lot of work is to be completed leading up to a big release date, is particularly notorious. As US News highlights, gig workers from all backgrounds are experiencing health issues associated with their work – particularly mental health related. As such, there is room for improvement in terms of how tech workers can be provided for to ensure their mental and physical health is safeguarded.
The tech industry has always embraced flexible workers – and now, it can be at the vanguard of the new gig economy. Work needs to be done; rights need to be protected, and a highlight of the benefits provided to continue attracting new contractors. However, with the right factors in place, it can be the perfect expression of the modern flexible labor market.