Working in the gig economy: No 9-5 grind but it's not an easy ride

Food delivery riders and ride-hailing drivers may be earning more than in their previous jobs, but they could be vulnerable because of the lack of labour protection and opportunities for skills training, limiting their prospects for social mobility.
Food delivery riders and ride-hailing drivers may be earning more than in their previous jobs, but they could be vulnerable because of the lack of labour protection and opportunities for skills training, limiting their prospects for social mobility. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Sure, the huge numbers of food delivery riders and Grab drivers show how the landscape of work (and footpaths) has changed. No more 9-5 grind, with seven in 10 workers surveyed by an Insight poll reporting that they earn better wages than in their previous jobs. But with no benefits, no CPF and no long-term career prospects, Insight looks at whether it's a boon or bane.

It promised so much - and transformed the word "gig" into something sounding cool.

That's the gig economy, where, even without qualifications, you can sometimes earn as much as a white-collar worker, while doing flexible hours that suit you.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 17, 2019, with the headline 'Gig work - not an easy ride'. Print Edition | Subscribe