The Sharing Economy

What is the sharing economy, and what are its implications for employment services? Also referred to as the ‘gig economy’ and ‘Uberization’, the sharing economy is a system of business models that bring individuals together to share their resources with strangers, all of whom are – and this is the key – enabled by a third-party digital platform.

crowd of people walking on a zebra crossing

Today, sharing economy architecture can be found for almost anything. We are most familiar with structures such as Airbnb (accommodation) and Uber (transportation), also known as the ‘rides and rooms’ industries. However, locally and globally, people are also sharing “meals, power tools, dog kennels, boats, driveways, bicycles, musical instruments, even excess capacity in their rucksacks” (McLean 2015). The Internet, mobile technology, and social media platforms have brought about this economic and cultural shift. From one’s living room, global markets can not only be accessed, but participated in fully.

If this is altering our traditional business models, then certainly it is changing the nature of work. How are we to understand ’employment’ in the social economy? The disruption in traditional business structures raises practical questions for Public Employment Services and their partners. Does employment in the sharing economy fit the usual “supply and demand” scenario we have served over the years? And if the sharing economy is a dimension of the labor market, are conventionally-designed Public Employment Services and partners evolving to successfully place and support people in this new world of work?

There’s no shortage of research attempting to find answers. In this free chapter of Managing Workforce Potential, Natalie Branosky, explores and explains the sharing economy’s impact on Employment Services:

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