Gig work in Scotland : an exploratory study of job quality among gig workers in Central Scotland
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Current views of gig work and the implications of these modern employment practices for workers and wider society are largely polarized. However, current presumptions regarding the quality of gig work have been mainly speculative and are not embedded within the experiences of workers (Kalleberg & Dunn, 2017). This study contributes to a growing body of literature regarding job quality and gig work through the exploration of individuals’ perceptions and experiences of working in the gig economy. Face to face interviews were conducted with 32 gig workers (varying from 35-90 minutes) located in Central Scotland, working via digital app-based platforms, and doing work related to hospitality, courier and taxi driving. A number of key findings emerge from the study. First, despite lacking a number of characteristics traditionally associated with ‘good work’ it was found in the study that gig work is not unequivocally bad with evidence provided of positive aspects of gig work including, for example, regarding flexibility and enjoyment. In addition, it was found that the extent to which gig work represented a good or a bad job was influenced not only by the conditions of employment, but also by individual circumstance including the extent to which income from gig work provided a primary or supplementary source of income. The study also contributes to wider debates concerning the impact of disruptive technology on the future of work revealing both positive and negative impacts of platform technology on the quality of work experience including in regards to key components of job quality such as autonomy, flexibility and the social working environment. The implications of these findings for those seeking to improve the quality of gig jobs, as well for future research, are also considered.