Gig Economy Challenge: How Can We Solve Pressing Issues Faced By Gig Workers?

Gig Economy Challenge: How Can We Solve Pressing Issues Faced By Gig Workers?

by April 20, 2020

The importance of the gig economy has always seen a steady growth trajectory, but nothing has made its importance clearer to everyone than the COVID-19 pandemic — from delivering essential services to providing side income for those affected. Which is why it is urgent for us to look into how fintech and innovative digital solutions can help protect the gig economy workers.

In contrast to the traditional economy set-up, the gig economy is characterised by flexible, temporary, or freelance jobs with irregular income and working hours.

Fueled by the digital revolution in recent years, the growth of the gig economy is set to continue. By 2023, the global gig economy in gross volume terms are expected to increase from USD200 billion to USD455 billion. This shift in the employment landscape introduces new sources of financial risks that, if left unaddressed, may leave gig economy workers vulnerable to financial shocks.

In tandem with that, APEC Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia, MDEC and the United Nations Capital Development Fund launched the Financial Innovation Gig Economy Challenge.

The challenge calls for the submission of innovative solutions to improve the financial health of gig economy workers, in support of the theme and priority areas of APEC, particularly the Finance Ministers’ Process. These include:

  1. Optimising human potential towards a future of shared prosperity;
  2. The longstanding focus on financial inclusion;
  3. Democratising the digital economy.

Malaysia as host of APEC 2020, calls for the pursuit of balanced and sustainable economic growth, along with fair and equitable wealth distribution across all segments of the population, including those engaged in the gig economy.

The challenge is therefore aimed at seeking out innovative solutions that help secure the economic and financial well-being of gig economy workers through the four pillars of financial health – spending, saving, borrowing and financial planning.

Solution providers across all APEC economies are invited to submit their application from today until 11 May 2020 at Shortlisted applicants will be invited to participate in a four-week “accelerator” programme to further develop and refine their solutions with assistance from specialists.

At the end of the programme, the panel judges will select three winners to receive grants and an opportunity to pilot their products in Malaysia. The selected applicants will have the chance to showcase their winning solutions at the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in October 2020. Further information about the competition can be found in the official website for the competition at

The challenge is funded by MetLife Foundation.