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Professional workers in the gig economy largely invisible, IPPR research claims

Around a third of UK professionals now work independently in a transformation at the higher end of the UK workforce yet are largely ignored by policymakers, according a report on professionals in the “gig economy” published today by Odgers Connect with research from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

Concern over unregulated work at the low-end of the gig economy, whilst important, has “obscured the positive role that independent work and self-employment plays in a modern, flexible labour market” the IPPR says.

“The voices of self-employed and independent professional people, and the organisations that employ their services, have, up to this point, largely been absent from the debate on the gig economy. As a result, there is a danger that policymakers will not account for the interests of either group when considering whether and how to regulate,” the report adds.

Commissioned by Odgers Connect, the IPPR notes that many professional workers have taken advantage of technology and changes in the nature of work - often incorporating as sole traders, or setting up microbusinesses – and seem largely satisfied, appreciating greater independence, flexibility, and, often, pay.

However, labour market statistics have failed to keep pace with the economic changes since the financial crisis meaning, according to the IPPR, that “a significant portion of those working in the professional gig economy are invisible in publicly available data.”

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