Yes -another new piece of jargon although it is difficult to get an agreed definition of this yet. It seems to be a catch-all term for anything from Uber taxi drivers to freelance professionals. Cath Everett has writtem a fascinating account of this in an article in Personnel Today. Even US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton – has been talking about the “Uberfication” of work”. Cath quotes an interesting take on the concept from Alex Swarbrick, senior consultant at leadership institute Roffey Park,who points out that this kind of workforce, although still only relatively small at the moment, tends to consist of two tiers with “radically different working conditions”.
“You can characterise the workforce in this model like an hourglass. So the people at the top comprise highly-skilled, sought-after talent that is relatively well paid and expects to work flexibly,” he says.
“Workers at the bottom end of the hourglass, however, are likely to be on temporary, fixed-term, zero-hour contracts and have a number of jobs that could be characterised as insecure, low-paid work.” See the definitions below.
Gig economy – a system where work is contracted on a freelance short-term basis, often using technology to connect workers and hirers.
Uberfication – the disruptive application of Uber-convenient technologies to more traditional marketplaces, eg Uber taxis, Airbnb hotels, Deliveroo take-aways, Rover dog-sitting.
In other words, at the top of the hourglass, it is and will remain an employee’s market, and at the bottom, an employer’s market.
I am increasingly finding an interest in this life style which of course also includes portfolio working and from all generations. Older people often have simply had enough of the old style career paths (see previous blog posting) and looking to redefine how they live and work. Younger people through a different world view but also from frustration sometimes at not getting paid work are also experimenting with different work lifestyles.
It is important too not to assume that no-one wants to be in bottom half of that hour glass. Sometimes this can fit well into the lifestyle that you want or have to live for a while.
So now you know you portfollio workers. You are driving the Uberfication or work!