Market Overview

REPORT: Gig economy appeals to B.C. workers despite financial challenges

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COAST SALISH TERRITORY and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Self-employed independent workers in British Columbia are choosing contract jobs and short-term "gigs" over permanent workplace positions, according to a new Vancity report.

To better understand how the emerging gig economy impacts British Columbians, Vancity conducted a survey of more than 200 adult workers who identify as self-employed and independent, with no employees. Independents' Day: Why gig work is taking hold in B.C. found the most common advantages to independent work are "work-life balance" and the freedom to "be your own boss."

The survey also found concerning disadvantages, the most notable being low earnings among a significant number of independent workers. More than 40 per cent of those surveyed reported a net income last year of less than $25,000, while only 37 per cent maintain sufficient savings in case of sickness, job loss or economic downturn. Still, almost 70 per cent of those surveyed for the report say they value work flexibility over making money.

The report also found:

  • Almost 18 per cent of the province's workforce is self-employed, well above the national average and the highest among all provinces save for Saskatchewan, which has a preponderance of farm workers.
     
  • While most independent workers surveyed have experienced financial challenges, job uncertainty and stress related to their work, 80 per cent say they are self-employed by choice and prefer it to regular full-time employment.
     
  • Nine of 10 survey respondents say access to extended health and dental plans is important to them, yet more than half (51 per cent) do not currently have access to such plans.

"By choice or circumstance, British Columbians are turning to independent work and the trend isn't slowing down," says Eric Bulmash, Vancity manager of community business and investment. "People told us that while there are advantages, independent and gig work also create needs that must be addressed."

More gig jobs are coming to B.C. with popular ride-hailing companies positioning to begin operations in the province. While all independent workers should know their rights and understand the challenges of self-employment, governments, employers and financial institutions can do more to respond to their needs. As a first step, Vancity is collaborating with Pacific Blue Cross on a health benefits plan aimed at entrepreneurs, small businesses and independent workers across B.C.

Additional information
Backgrounder: Vancity supports advocacy, skill-sharing and resource development for independent workers

About Vancity
Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 525,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka'wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. With $26.4 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada's largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Tweet us @vancity and connect with us on Facebook.com/Vancity.

For more information:
Mary Frances Hill | Vancity
T: 778-837-0394
mediarelations@vancity.com

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