Serving Workers in the Gig Economy

Emerging Resources for the On-Demand Workforce

Serving Workers in the Gig Economy

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It’s difficult to ignore the effects of the "great unbundling" today. The digital revolution has already changed the nature of media, personal health, finance, and other economic and industrial sectors in recent years. As this O’Reilly report reveals, the modern workforce—including the very notion of a "job" itself—is undergoing a similar transformation.

Unbundling is the breaking up of traditional packages of goods and services into their component parts, eventually to be rebundled in new ways. In the same fashion, various job components—income, structure, social connections, meaning, and (in the US) access to healthcare—are being unbundled as well.

Authors Nick Grossman and Elizabeth Woyke explore how changes in the workplace bundle are drawing more and more people into the part-time labor force, aka the "gig economy," including traditional freelancers, craftspeople, independent contractors, micro-entrepreneurs, and shift workers.

Gig workers now have access to many jobs from many sources, but they also face significant challenges in obtaining security in today’s economy. This report describes how the gig economy is shaping up.

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Nick Grossman

Nick Grossman

Nick is a General Manager at Union Square Ventures, where he invests in new web & mobile platforms, works with USV portfolio companies, and leads USV’s efforts on public policy and regulatory issues that impact open innovation the health of the web. Previously, he led an incubator for technology & media businesses at OpenPlans, which, among other things, pioneered the open311 web standard, founded the largest open source project in the public transit space, and built NYC’s real-time bus data platform. Nick has present & past academic affiliations at the Berkman Center for Internet Society at Harvard Law School and at the MIT Media Lab, and is on the advisory boards of the Data & Society Institute, the Data-Smart City Solutions initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Tumml urban ventures accelerator, Living Cities, and Code for America. He has a degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University and learned everything he knows about technology from people on the internet and by using view:source. He grew up in Brooklyn and now lives outside of Boston with his wife and two kids.

Elizabeth Woyke

Elizabeth Woyke

Elizabeth Woyke is a freelance business and technology reporter and author of The Smartphone: Anatomy of an Industry (The New Press). A former BusinessWeek and Forbes staff writer, her work has been published in Inc., Money and Time Asia magazines as well as Fast Company, Reuters, and The Atlantic online. She holds a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is one of the leaders of the Yale Alumni Journalism Association.