The Internet giant Google has announced that it will be investing $50 million in helping people ‘prepare for the changing nature of work’.
Google said that it will “….support nonprofits who are taking innovative approaches to tackling this challenge in three ways: (1) training people with the skills they need, (2) connecting job-seekers with positions that match their skills and talents, and (3) supporting workers in low-wage employment. We’ll start by focusing on the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, and hope to expand to other countries over time.”
Google has pledged the money to non-profits and other organisations across Europe and the US, backing research into the changing nature of work and helping to ensure ‘under-served people’ have the ‘skills and connections they need to secure new jobs’.
IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals, has welcomed Google’s initiative saying that, across the globe, technology is now transforming working practices at an unprecedented rate – faster than national governments can keep up with. So it is now more important than ever to get a global perspective on working practices, both to inform governments and to drive business change.
IPSE hopes, however, that Google and the beneficiaries of its initiative, will pay due attention to one of the most important areas of change: self-employment and the gig economy. In its blog post announcement, Google mentions its beneficiary, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which provides support for vulnerable US domestic workers with limited employment rights. IPSE hopes Google will support similar organisations both in other sectors of the economy and in other countries.
When approaching the gig economy, IPSE believes it is essential that Google explores not only its negative impact on vulnerable workers, but also the many benefits it offers to legitimately self-employed people. In the UK and across the world, it is vital to ensure both that vulnerable workers are protected and that self-employment remains a viable and attractive way of working.
IPSE’s Director of Policy, Simon McVicker, commented:
“I think this is potentially a very positive initiative. It’s now more important than ever to get an international perspective on changing working practices, so for an internet giant like Google to throw their hat into the ring on this should be a big step forward.
“The key now will be to make sure that when they look at the gig economy, they get the full picture. In the UK at any rate, there’s a myth circulating that the gig economy’s all bad. But in fact, for many people it provides not only flexibility, but a valuable source of extra income. It’s important that the research that comes out of this initiative gets the whole picture – the bad and the good.”