From food delivery to ride-hailing, over 210,000 Singaporeans – about 10% of all employed residents in Singapore – contribute to the ‘gig economy’ under the catch-all category of ‘freelancers’ (everything from temporary/contract workers to the self-employed).
And these numbers are set to rise as the gig economy provides much-needed respite to a wide range of workers whose livelihoods were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this context, it is worth examining how Singaporeans view the gig economy.
Our data shows that most Singaporeans (83%) recognise the personal benefits of the gig economy, as it allows just about anyone to boost their income or stay financially afloat.
Conversely, many see the gig economy as potentially detrimental to Singapore’s job market and economy (27% and 22%, respectively), as it risks turning something that by definition should be temporary (a ‘gig’) into a prolonged yet unprotected profession.
Indeed, less than half (42%) of Singaporeans agree that gig economy workers are treated fairly by gig economy companies and one in three (33%) disagree that such workers are better off financially than if these companies did not exist.
The findings suggest that while the gig economy plays an increasingly important role for both workers and consumers in Singapore, the future of the sector remains unclear for Singaporeans.
If debates happening elsewhere are any indication, both regulators and service providers will need to ensure the gig economy is more of an opportunity for those who need flexible work arrangements and less of a potentially precarious option for those who have no other way of making ends meet.
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