This year, the team at shareNL contributed to a research project by the JRC namely the ‘The future of the EU collaborative economy – 'Using scenarios to explore future implications for employment’. Now, the European Commission released the ‘JRC Science for policy report’, and we summarize the highlights here. For full report, click here. The report emphasizes the importance of acknowledging both opportunities and challenges that this new economy brings and suggests concrete areas and issues that need to be considered in order to foster continued growth of the collaborative economy.  

The foresight project was developed by Joints Research Centre (JRC), with the purpose to contribute to the recently adopted European agenda for the collaborative economy, linke to press release here.The project was carried out by experts in the field, who developed four different future scenarios:

*Figure taken from the full report.

These four scenarios were used as the basis for identifying issues that need attention. The issues were identified under three topics:

1.    The social protection and right for the workers in platforms that are involved in the collaborative economy, which is an important discussion point. The change of the future of workers calls for a review of the structure of employment arrangements that exist today, exploring the new risks that arise with under- and unemployment, while also looking at labour and welfare policies in collaboration with the current actors (e.g. trade unions and cooperatives). Additionally, more research on this particular topic is needed.

2.    Data and reputation is another important discussion point. It is addressed that data portability or profile transfer in formats that are interoperable and open source is important to overcome monopolistic platforms.  This requires appropriate monitoring. The report also discusses the importance to ensure that workers and users with varying degrees or skills are equally included in the system.

3.    Lastly, competences and skills are discussed in the report, which is a step towards creating a sustainable workforce through considering appropriate education system and content with regard to the future of workers. Moreover, the essence of continuous learning in the new economy platform is emphasized.

In conclusion

The report takes the workers in the collaborative economy as a starting point and discusses important angles and solutions for platforms, traditional companies, and the government in approaching challenges of the new economy. The report emphasizes the importance of embracing rather than restricting the new economy. Taking the structure and institutions of the traditional economy into account while enabling new structures to grow requirescollaboration among all players and active work to address challenges that are predicted to arise. All in all, it is a good step towards explaining, redefining and clarifying otherwise blurring regulations.

Written by Theresa Thomasson

Contributions by Lies van den Eijnden