2018年01月19日

Crowd work: The rise of unstable work and potential measures to prevent the proliferation of the working poor

生活研究部 准主任研究員・ヘルスケアリサーチセンター兼任   金 明中

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■Introduction
 
  • Recently, phrases like “gig economy” and “crowd worker” are commonly used in mass media. “Crowd work” refers to work—often one-off projects—that is assigned and submitted through a platform on the Internet.
     
  • According to the survey “Freelancing in America: 2016”, the number of freelancers in the U.S. was 55 million in 2016. This reflects an increase of 2 million from 2014, and means that freelancers account for 35% of the entire U.S. workforce.
     
  • While a lack of data a lso makes it difficult to evaluate the crowd work industry in Europe, an Internet survey conducted by Ursula Huws and Simon Joyce at the University of Hertfordshire in February 2016 provides some insights into crowd work in the U.K., Germany, and Sweden. The survey shows that 11% of respondents in the U.K., 12% in Sweden, and 14% in Germany regard them as crowd workers.
     
  • According to “Survey on actual condition of freelance 2017,” there are 11,220,000 freelances in Japan, accounting for 17% of the whole workforce as of 2017.
     
  • Most crowd workers are placed in an economically bad situation. However, discussions about crowd workers’ social and economic status are becoming more common, and the movement to improve their working standards is expanding slowly in the U.S. and Europe.
     
  • In Japan, while specific measures for improving conditions for crowd workers have not been implemented, it is expected that non-regular employees’ working standards will be improved because of the promotion of equal pay for equal jobs in the near future.
     
  • Maintaining the current situation, in which Labor Standards laws have not yet been implemented, could lead to an increase in the working poor more and widen pay gap issues. To prevent this, the government should take the lead in improving the current situation of crowd workers.
     
  • The government should implement measures to improve working condition standards, not only for non-regular employees but also for crowd workers at the same time. Expanding and applying the exception for homeworkers, which is currently implemented, could be one step.

■Contents

・The current situation of crowd workers in the U.S. and Europe
・The current situation of crowd workers in Japan
・Future challenges and measures
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生活研究部   准主任研究員・ヘルスケアリサーチセンター兼任

金 明中 (きむ みょんじゅん)

研究・専門分野
社会保障論、労働経済学、日・韓社会保障政策比較分析

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