Hong Kong has been cited as the third most difficult place to find skilled employees in the world. As Asia Pacific continues to face record talent shortages, Hong Kong is expected to see a talent deficit toppling around 47 million by 2030. Despite all these, a gig economy is a boom as almost nine in ten people increasingly demand more choice and flexibility in how they work. The other percentage acknowledges that they will be influenced by family commitments, hobbies, or education towards adopting the gig economy. The gig work attracts a vast range of people across different industries, ages, and experience levels who are ready to re-shape the interactions between workers, businesses, and customers.
Key Industries Where Gig Economy Workers Are Currently Employed
The gig economy workforce comes in the form of part-time workers, freelancers, project workers, software developers, accountants/financial advisors, lawyers, specialists, independent contractors, and full-time devotees who rely on on-demand jobs as their main source of income. Sectors like financial services, banking, construction, real property, trade and manufacturing, supply chain, accounting, sales & marketing, transportation, food & beverages, the music industry, and healthcare are where most of the gig economy workers are currently employed.
For the last six years, Hong Kong has seen a 40% rise in the population of the gig economy workforce. This increase has encouraged employers to improve diversity in their workforce strategies.
Some choose freelancers not because of the autonomy and control it provides, but as a stepping stone to a better job. Others do it for extra monies and others as the only available option.
Example of a gig company/organization in Hong Kong
Deliveroo. Deliveroo has put in place appropriate measures to protect workers, businesses, and the public. It has done this by offering free Red Cross first aid courses to riders and launching a free accident, and third-party liability insurance package giving riders in Hong Kong and worldwide accident and injury cove and allowing them to claim lost income are unable to ride because of an on-the-job injury.
Other examples are Uber, a car-hailing company that drives you to your door, Couch Surfing or Airbnb, which helps you have an enjoyable trip at a lower cost, and TaskRabbit which enables you to do outdoor chores. We also have Upwork and UpCounsel in the professional sector offering design services and legal solutions, respectively.
What contributes to the growth of a gig economy?
It is often thought that technology has a single hand in the thriving gig economy, but this is not always the case. It is society. Society can choose to champion the importance of entrepreneurship, risk, and independence, leading to a smaller state and lower taxes. Growth is more closely related to policy decisions and social choice, and not the inevitable result of technological progress.
In as much as technologies can be exploited to accomplish a gig economy-related task, technologies can be utilized to fuel social inequalities making work less permanent and the livelihood of workers more tenuous. But those same technologies can be used to improve the wages and welfare of workers. Eventually, how technology is used and the kinds of employment relations it creates are social, not technical choices.
Hong Kong’s Gig Economy Amidst Corona Virus Pandemics
The coronavirus pandemic has battered the gig economy, and the government has been urged to give gig economy workers support through these challenging times. The epidemic has caused jobs to dry up. This is because of the banning of gatherings and ceremonies/services like weddings, schools, and holiday functions.
In March 2020, a survey of musicians by the Hong Kong Music Industry Union found that 294 out of 500 respondents had their performances canceled, with two in five having sustained a loss of income.
The government’s latest HK$137.5 billion relief package set to take-off in June will see to it that self-employed people get a one-off subsidy of HK$7,500 provided they have a Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) account like other workers