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Opportunities and notebookNew demand. New businesses. New services. Official markets for irregular work could create diverse opportunity.


Who benefits?

Anyone who can’t get a job, or needs flexibility in their worklife would gain a new option. They could see where demand for their services was strongest based on locality, skills, level of vetting and interests. Entry into 10-15 sectors of the ad hoc economy, all managed seamlessly through one official website, could be the norm for school leavers for instance.

On the demand side, small businesses –  job creation engines  – would have much to gain from pools of provably reliable local people bookable anytime with a few clicks. Many businesses would find it worthwhile inducting their own group. Small enterprises might also find the official platform a great route to market.



New models

Having local people and resources constantly on-tap in a competitive, regulated, marketplace creates new models for some vital aspects of modern life.

Table - impactnew


What’s the downside?

Would this ultra-fluid labor market further erode jobs? A conventional employee is always going to be better value per hour for a regular need. They carry less overhead while retaining organisational knowledge and relationships that no temp can match. On-tap pools of extra workers are there for peak periods.

ClampdownWould businesses be unable to compete against an official platform for micro-activity? The evolving informal economy is already a headache for legitimate enterprises. If you run a tax paying guesthouse, a couple down the street renting their spare bedroom to overnighters and not paying tax is unfair competition.

That’s why jurisdictions are clamping down on stay-on-my-sofa websites. But an official platform, open to both guesthouse and ad hoc renter, uniformly applying regulation and tax, levels the playing field.




Advanced informal working need not be an either/or with conventional employment. The potential for blended careers can be shown by looking at the way a woman might mix formal employment and informal activity through her life.

iStock_000010261814XSmallIn her final school years she might do some irregular trading in low risk categories, perhaps petcare or gardening to start a track record. After leaving school she might become active in 10-15 sectors built around her interests and patterns of local demand. One of those sectors could turn into a job. When children arrive she may be a big buyer of childcare but then become a seller in the same market as nursery age is reached.

As the kids age, she might take a part time job and supplement that with ad hoc activity on a week-to-week basis. With teenagers leaving home she would have a depth of experience and reliability that could be a hit at interviews for full time positions. Finally as she nears retirement she may choose to go part time and use ad hoc activity as much to build local networks while earning. In retirement she would might structure informal work around grandparenting.

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