Understanding safety in Australia's growing Gig Economy

Posted by National Crime Check on 2021-02-02

If you haven't heard of the term 'Gig Economy' before, you're not alone. It's not a term that is often used outside of the industry. However, you've likely familiar with a fair few Gig Economy companies such as Uber and Airtasker, who have taken over entire industries in a matter of years.

What defines the Gig Economy company like Uber or Airtasker is that they are based on temporary, flexible jobs that are made up of independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees. A Gig Economy company is usually a major threat to traditional companies, as they move faster, and in most cases employ highly motivated people and entrepreneurs.

It's a remarkable business model when you analyse it, and the result of a Gig Economy is in most cases cheaper, more efficient services such as Uber, Doordash or Airbnb, for the people willing to use them.

Why are there safety concerns in the Gig Economy?

While the Gig Economy business model has changed entire industries in what feels to be overnight, at the same time, it also introduces safety concerns between workers, businesses, and Australian consumers. In a traditional company, workers are often full-time, and they generally adhere to the rules and procedures as their careers are on the line.

In the Gig Economy, this is not always the case. While strict guidelines are in place, workers are often left alone to represent a Gig Economy's brand with direct contact with its customers. Keep in mind that a Gig Economy company is usually a "tech platform or app" that connects workers and customers - not a product the Gig Economy company makes.

At its core, a Gig Economy company usually only connects people and workers. This means that when you use Uber, you are not getting transport from a full-time Uber worker, you are actually engaging a contractor or freelancer.

How many people work in the Gig Economy?

According to one 2019 SBS report, approx. 7% of the Australian workforce are now seeking jobs through the gig economy, with many Australians signing up to multiple platforms to make a living.

According to this report, the five most popular platforms used by Australian workers are Airtasker (34.8%), Uber (22.7%), Freelancer (11.8%), Uber Eats (10.8%) and Deliveroo (8.2%).

When we combine technology trends and the impact of Covid-19, it would be expected that the Gig Economy is only going to grow, especially as many larger companies have felt the impact if Covid-19, leaving Australian workers to make their own income. We also need to consider that the latest unemployment figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that in April there were 713,400 unemployed Australians, which is an unemployment rate of around 5.8%.

However what is of note, is that the unemployment rate for younger people aged between 15 and 24 years old was more than twice as high at 12.9% - it's important to understand this as these youthful, more tech-savvy Australians are often the first to look to the Gig Economy to make a living.

How do you create confidence, trust and safety in the Gig Economy?

Inherent in most Gig Economy platforms are "ratings and reviews", where the end-customer rates and ranks their experience with the person who is representing the Gig Economy company. Take Uber, for example, a consumer will rate the driver, and in turn, the driver needs to provide remarkable service to stay relevant.

If the service is poor, the consumer will review accordingly, and therefore the Gig Economy worker is less likely to get work. That in itself is a great start, but it's still critical to follow the essential safety checks that all companies should perform with their employees, especially customer facing roles.

At NCC, we are helping growing Gig Economy companies like Uber and Airtasker to background check their workers in a fast, efficient manner - and also rule out crimes like identity theft that are a significant threat for Gig Economy companies. As you can imagine, having an imposter slip through the cracks is one of the biggest concerns for a Gig Economy company, they need to be unconditionally vigilant in their safety and police checks.

Conducting identity verification and police checks is the first step to establish trust and confidence, with the ultimate goal that every Gig Economy company has only verified workers. By hiring and checking the right people, a Gig Economy company can rest assured that the community, media, and competitors know that its company is highly reliable and reputable.

Do you operate, or are looking to work in a Gig Economy Company?

Introducing InstaID+, a new app to make identity verification quick and easy for everyone. InstaID+ uses the latest facial recognition technology to precisely analyse and match a planned employee’s selfie with their passport or driver’s licence photos. While simple from the outside, the technology leverages cutting-edge document analysis, document verification, biometric verification, and liveness detection for applicant ID.

By simply sending your InstaID+ link to the prospective applicant, that can be accessed from their mobile phone. These checks can be completed quickly and easily with the candidate supplying some basic information and photo ID - removing the concern for and avoiding any fraudulent individuals. There are no setup or ongoing fees, so InstaID+ is easy to implement in your processes.

Learn more about Gig Economy safety and NCC.

With continued growth and pressure on Gig Economy companies, now’s the time to look at your hiring processes and ensure you hire the right people for your growing business.

Get in touch to see how NCC and our identity verification software can help. Contact us here or visit www.instaid.plus.


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