Issue #15: Are side hustles becoming the new normal?
Headlines you shouldn’t miss
THE VERGE The farmers market is moving online: Many farmers were severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. With supply chains collapsing and restaurants closing, small farmers searched for alternatives to sell their perishable goods. Online platforms that combine sales and delivery from farmers to consumers provided a solution for independent farmers.
CNBC Millennial women want remote work, but many fear they’ll miss opportunities if not in office, according to report: In a recent survey among 1,600 participants conducted by theSkimm, two-thirds of women aged 25 to 40 fear to miss career opportunities if they work remotely — even though 43% said working remotely is very important to them. 40% of the women indicated to feel more pressure to return to the office when their male colleagues are working from the office.
EL PAÍS Las Kellys prepare a portal for customers to book only fair hotels: The Spanish labor union Las Kelly — short for las que limpian (those who clean) — has opted for crowdfunding to realize an ambitious project. The organized cleaning staff wants to start a hotel portal that only includes places treating their staff fairly. Las Kellys are facing adversity as a similar project called fairhotels.es is already planned and other labor unions don’t express a lot of support.
CNN More than 50 robots are working at Singapore's high-tech hospital: In Singapore’s Changi General Hospital, already 50 robots are performing tasks of cleaning staff, physiotherapists, and even surgeons. The country is preparing for the culmination of three megatrends: A shortage of labor, an aging society, and an increase in chronic illness. Robots excel in areas that require high precision and allow hospital workers to focus on more meaningful tasks.
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW Digitizing Africa’s Small and Midsize Businesses: Nigerian entrepreneur Omoniyi Kolade believes that it is crucial to digitize African micro, small and medium enterprises that comprise 90% of all businesses on the continent. With less than half of the population using the internet and 95% of all transactions happening offline, Kolade argues that businesses and policymakers need to invest in digitization to secure the continent’s competitiveness.
MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW People are hiring out their faces to become deepfake-style marketing clones: Deepfakes might disrupt jobs and the nature of marketing with a growing number of people “lending” their faces for deepfake talking heads. When people scan their faces, realistic deepfakes mimic real interactions in any language. Such digital clones can be used in marketing, e-commerce, and or for any purpose where a human tutor is needed in videos.
THE ECONOMIST OnlyFans U-turns on its porn ban: The subscription-based platform OnlyFans has allowed creators to offer exclusive content to paying members. In 2020, the platform grew drastically, with many people failing to make an income. They opted for adult content on the platform. OnlyFans recently issued a press release stating that adult content would be banned. Pressure by banks not willing to engage in any type of sex work seemed to be the reason. After massive backlash, the OnlyFans management reversed its decision and will maintain adult content.
Wrap-up of the week: Is everybody becoming a “sidepreneur”?
📜 A new study among executives in the UK, New Zealand and Australia shows that freelancers could replace full-time workers in the next five years. With more and more people embracing the gig economy, power dynamics shift towards workers who see the potential to maximize earnings by working for various employers.
💪 While it is difficult to calculate the exact number of gig workers, recent estimates show that one in three Americans is working on a side hustle. The occupations can range from low-skilled gigs like driving on Uber or delivering food on Deliveroo to offering more sophisticated creative freelance jobs on platforms like Fiverr.
📷 Additionally, roughly 50 million people have become part of the creator economy. They monetize videos on YouTube or Twitch, connect brands with audiences on Instagram or make money writing on platforms like Medium, Substack, and Quora.
🌐 Globally, the number of people engaging in non-traditional jobs is rising. The number of full-time freelancers and occasional “sidepreneuers” making extra cash on the side has been growing. The number of women in the gig economy has risen sharply during the pandemic, as mothers have been searching for flexible work opportunities.
🏛️Regulators have to prepare for a new work dynamic fuelled by technological advancements. These advancements can empower people with few work opportunities or exploit vulnerable groups. The case of a former Afghan minister becoming a delivery man in Germany has provoked mixed reactions.
Graph of the week: The ecosystem of the future of work
It’s clear that digital technologies will massively shape the future of work. While automation, robotics, and AI might displace workers in many areas, new jobs are emerging — this is one of the key aspects of transformation.
The graph below illustrates how much new work there has been emerging on the path to modern labor. Startups have been developing convenient solutions for remote work settings, knowledge distribution, HR, and accounting. Each startup is a job creator. Take a look at the different areas where tech is changing workplaces:
Quote of the week: Shoshana Zuboff on the power of data and its misuse
Shoshana Zuboff, the author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, argues that we need to address the fundamental issues with data-driven business models to create a cohesive society.
People should have the rights to decide what becomes data and what remains private. We must have the rights to decide how those data are shared, and for what purpose. We will need new institutions and pathways so that data can be used to enhance our lives, communities, and societies. This was the original promise of the digital age, and it remains within our reach. We’ve been hijacked, but we can change the trajectory.
Instead of massive concentrations of data to manipulate our commercial and political behavior, data becomes a critical resource for people and society. We use it to enhance our cities, towns, and neighborhoods; to make sure everybody’s got food; everybody’s got a doctor and a teacher. We cure diseases and work on the climate crisis. We clear the space for new kinds of businesses that actually care about people and want to solve our problems. There’s no tweaking any of this to get us where we need to go. We need a fundamental reset.
Tweet of the week: The double remote burden for women — one year later
According to a recent study, between 40 and 60 percent of the mothers do not wish to return to work full-time in an office. The benefits of remote work have helped them develop a family-friendly schedule. These might have implications for society and the labor market.