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This is the weekly Careers newsletter.

Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

Statistics Canada released data on gig work in its Labour Force Survey for the first time last week, defining it as “short-term tasks, projects or jobs, with no assurance of steady employment.”

The data show men (73 per cent) and landed immigrants (55 per cent) from the ages of 16 to 69 make up the majority of the food delivery contractors. Women (58 per cent) make up the majority of content creators – those who create blogs, videos or podcasts online.

Statistics Canada’s move to track this data highlights the growing role gig work is playing in the economy. The United States is certainly seeing that growth. The gross value of the gig economy south of the border was $US204-billion in 2018 and is expected to rise to $US455-billion in 2023, according to Statista.

While we don’t have any other national numbers to compare how gig work is changing, Uber in Canada saw a spike in user sign-ups through the second half of 2022. They reported the highest number they have seen on the platform during the past three months.

Sung Hong, who immigrated to Canada in 2008 and lives in Surrey, B.C., started driving for Uber as a second job five months ago. The main reason he said he started gig work, like most new drivers to Uber, was to combat inflation.

“I’m using the extra money toward an increased mortgage payment and my grocery expenses,” said Mr. Hong, whose mortgage payment has increased by $700 a month.

He said he also needed a flexible opportunity to make more money. “I have two kids and a family, and I have to spend time with them on the weekends. I can do this job in my free time.”

Lastly, Mr. Hong said he can make more by driving for Uber on his own schedule than he could by working a regular hourly job. According to Mr. Hong, he can make $30 to $45 an hour.

When Uber noticed the spike, they surveyed drivers who had joined the platform in the past six months and here’s what they found:

  • 75 per cent of them are working fewer than 15 hours a week on average to supplement their income.
  • More than 65 per cent shared that they signed up for Uber to help with increasing inflation, unexpected expenses or to mitigate reduced hours or job loss.
  • 75 per cent said flexibility in where and when they work affected their decision to sign up with Uber.

There are obvious upsides for companies that hire gig workers, including not paying for benefits, but companies can use the gig economy to directly match their needs at any given time. With unemployment at a near record low of 5 per cent, gig workers can help companies ease the strain of a worker shortage.

What I’m reading around the web

  • Buying a home can be a whirlwind experience. To help protect homebuyers, British Columbia has become the first province that requires a three-day “cooling-off period” for buyers after they sign a purchase agreement. As this CBC story reports, this new protection period was created to help give the buyers more time to arrange financing or get a home inspection.
  • Heavy metal band Iron Maiden became the fifth music group to feature in a dedicated stamp issued by Britain’s Royal Mail. The Guardian reports the English band will be featured on 12 stamps that show performances and pay tribute to their history. The honour at home comes several months after being snubbed by the U.S.-based Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.
  • If you’re looking to do more reading this year, and work on your leadership skills, check out this book list that has been curated by top executives. Insights range from learning how to assert your value to strategies you can use to help you strengthen your whole team.
  • In-person events are back on the calendar for many people – but not all – and that means companies need to adapt, again. Read how experiential companies are striking a balance between virtual and in-person events in this story.

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