Current Study

“The Way We Live and Work Now”

Further monitor development work planned for Spring 2020


UPDATE: Postponed due to Covid-19.

Introduction: The test work undertaken in the Autumn of 2019 (you can view the copy here: Test Work) has indicated that a more extensive questionnaire is required to illuminate the issues under review. Additionally, the general election has further highlighted the differing lifestile experiences of the population across the regions of the UK. We have therefore decided to conduct a further General Population survey on a scale sufficient to review regional difference. Ideally we would want a minimum 1000 interviews per region to achieve that objective but that scale of project will depend upon the sponsorship we receive.

Background: The Campaign for Better Business Statistics came about through dis-satisfaction with the information available on the growing self-employed sector. In particular, it was felt that the economic contribution of this sector was being under-estimated, a fact that could be a contribution to the productivity ‘puzzle’. Concomitantly, the Bean report on Economic Statistics had highlighted the failure of data on the economy to keep pace with the changes in society, resulting in the formation of ESCoE and, inter alia, the 2020 conference. The authors are each from a commercial market research background, with considerable experience of seminal research projects exploring the issues created by change in circumstances for both households and businesses. The study is a follow on project from trial research conducted last autumn and benefits from views expressed at an open meeting on the Gig economy held at the Liberal Club last October and addressed by Sir Vince Cable amongst others.

Objectives: The project is designed to provide statistically valid information on individuals’ experience of, and attitudes towards, a range of topics, including in particular:

  • Working status, nature of employment, attitudes towards changes in employment practice
    • zero hour contracts
    • IR35
    • Experience of changes in productivity
  • Nature of participation in the Gig economy
    • As a user of platforms such as uber, etc.
    • As a supplier of services through such platforms
  • The usage and perceived value of free goods and other ‘rewards’
  • Use of social media

Method: For this study we wish to focus on individuals and we will employ a telephone survey amongst the population aged 16+. The sample will use a random sample of telephone numbers – both mobile and landline numbers, to ensure representation of all groups of persons including the 10% who do not have access to the internet. An on-line follow up survey will be under taken with persons engaged in the gig economy.

Timing: Preparation of sample, finalise and testing of questionnaire to be completed by 14th February.
Telephone data collection will be from 18th February to 9th April, online survey in field from 3rd March until 15th April. Final results will be available May 1st (all analyses can be set up and tested well before end of fieldwork).

To summarise: We recognise that we have already experienced one fifth of the ‘new’ century and its digital economy, with scant institutional handle on the factors that are driving that economy. Our desire is to gain a holistic understanding of the people’s view of the issues, including the opinions of the millions of ordinary Britons who have been left behind by these changes.