Should we be worried about the rise in insecure employment, under employment and self employment?

With the rise of more informal types of employment and legal challenges to the employment practices on companies such as Uber and Deliveroo it raises the question should we be concerned about these new ways of working? This is particularly applicable to the sports and coaching industry where many people are self employed but may actually be working like an employee.

As someone who has been self employed in some capacity for over 10 years I am very used to not having a guaranteed salary at the end of the month, completing a tax return and making my own pension arrangements. The reality is that many people prefer working for themselves and consciously choose it. This is certainly the case for me; I enjoy the freedom it gives me and the ability to work on my own projects to grow tennis and sport in general. The danger is when this level of flexibility is not chosen.

To be genuinely self employed you must have complete control over when to work and the standards you set for that work. If either of these conditions are encroached in any way then you cease to be genuinely self employed. You also must have the ability to set the rate at which you are prepared to work and have the right to decline jobs. As has been shown in a number of court challenges many disruptive technology firms are trying to treat people as self employed rather than employees to avoid taxes and associated benefits. They argue that this gives their teams more choice but this is simply a facade as many would far rather be employed. This is an abuse of labour laws and must be stopped.

A number of economists have argued that as humans develop new technologies the amount which we each have to work will reduce. To some extent this has happened as people now enjoy more leisure time, this is largely due to technology within the home reducing domestic chores. However, we have a section of the population working incredibly long hours, a group who are under employed and a number who are unable to get jobs or exist within insecure employment/self-employment as discussed. In my view we need a re-balancing of the job market so that everyone can make their own contribution to society. The majority of people want to work and contribute – society would be a better place is they could.

Hugo Allen

MD Connected Clubs & Visiomotion Tennis, Member Connected Teamware LLP

Tennis Coach & Referee, UCL Graduate and Member of APM


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