The opportunities and risks of platform work, such as delivering meals, offering taxi rides or doing online jobs, are unevenly distributed. The Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) warns about this. Where one group can work a lot independently and flexibly, others have high workload and low earnings. And due to the coronacrisis, the differences can become even greater.
The chief advisor to the cabinet, who mapped the field of work, notes that platform work is uncertain and unpredictable. International online platforms also compete with people from low-wage countries, putting incomes under pressure.
The SCP notes that the conditions of platform work deteriorate as supply increases and demand decreases. In economically bad times, platform workers dont have a safety net. “The crisis thus underlines the vulnerabilities of flexible work,” said the research.
For the coming months, the SCP expects the platform economy to help people who have lost their jobs due to the coronacrisis. But it also foresees that the disadvantages will be increased. This is particularly in the sectors affected by the coronacrisis, such as the taxi industry because tourism has disappeared, and home cleaning. “People may find each other quickly and the platforms offer new job opportunities, but that does not necessarily mean that it is also good and well-paid work that provides security,” said SCP researcher Anne Roeters. Roeters also thinks that sectors such as cleaning can be more difficult because of the coronacrisis.
Also, the power of platforms is a problem. That makes for lower quality of work. In countries where platform workers have a better negotiating position, the quality of work is higher.
Platformwork also has advantages, the SCP sees. In this way, it can encourage entrepreneurship. The flexible nature of the work can also make it easier for people to combine care and work. Because the work is often accessible, there are also benefits for people who are not so easy to get a job. People who have skills or expertise that is in demand can find more customers and thus earn more, according to the SCP.
Most people working in platform economics have a side job there, but in part it is also their main income. There is also a difference in the type of work and how it is organized.