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Google’s new initiative on changing nature of work

Google’s New Initiative Should Include Contractors, Urges IPSE

Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, recently announced a £38.3m initiative “to help people prepare for the changing nature of work.”

 

In a blog post, the tech giant explained that it will support nonprofits and other organisations that “train people with the skills they need, connect job-seekers with positions that match their skills and talents, and support workers in low-wage employment”. Just over £1.5 million will also be spent on researching the future of work – “finding ways to better anticipate and understand what the world’s fast-changing workforce will need in the years to come and how technology can help produce positive outcomes”.

 

The initiative has been welcomed by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE). IPSE noted that technology is transforming working practices “faster than national governments can keep up with,” and as such, that it’s become more important than ever to get a “global perspective on working practices”. IPSE’s Policy Director, Simon McVicker, also added that an internet giant like Google getting involved in the changing nature of work “should be a big step forward”.

 

But there was one key caveat to IPSE’s support of the initiative: Google must pay attention to “one of the most important areas of change” and extend the scope of the initiative to include self-employment and the gig economy.

IPSE believes this broader scope would not only help protect vulnerable workers from some of the gig economy’s negative aspects, but also showcase the many advantages of legitimate self-employment – both for the contractors themselves and for the many businesses and organisations that benefit from their skills and flexibility. “In the UK and across the world, it is vital to ensure both that vulnerable workers are protected and that self-employment remains a viable and attractive way of working.”

 

McVicker concluded by reiterating the fact that there’s a myth that “the gig economy’s all bad”. Instead, he notes that for many people it provides not only flexibility, but also a valuable source of extra income.

 

Here at Contracting Scout, we welcome Google’s interest in the changing nature of work and endorse IPSE’s call to make the scope of this broader.

We hope the initiative will do as much as possible to raise awareness of the role contractors play in supporting businesses and the public sector and their contribution to the economy.

We’ll also be monitoring the progress of the initiative and flagging any relevant opportunities that come out of it over the coming months, so be sure to check back soon.