Small Businesses Do 40 Percent of the Hiring in the Gig Economy, New Study Says

Over the course of the last decade, the so-called “gig economy” has rapidly expanded to become one of America’s most crucial labor markets. Around one in three American workers are now freelancers, and more than one third of Millennials.

And according to a new study compiled by LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), it’s small business owners that are the driving force behind that exponential growth.

The Gig Economy and Small Businesses

The Gig Economy and Small Businesses

Researchers at the world’s largest professional networking site found that small businesses are now responsible for an estimated 40 percent of all hiring activity across the wider gig economy, with midmarket companies and enterprises accounting for 35 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

The study also found that 93 percent of contractors and freelancers as a collective are likely to consider working at a small business — which comes in at three percent higher than the global average for business professionals.

Software and IT services tops the list of industry segments with the largest number of contractors and freelancers in the gig economy, boasting a talent base of some 223,000 professionals. Media and communications comes in second with 166,000 contractors, followed by healthcare with 164,000.

The Gig Economy and Small Businesses - Top Industries

It’s also worth pointing out that, according to LinkedIn data, 70 percent of all contractors who switched jobs in the past year also moved to a different industry.

“This means that if you’re not having luck with recruiting contractors within your industry, you may have much more success if you look outside it,” researchers said.

“The healthcare, real estate and construction industries have gained contractors over the past year, while public safety, retail, and the arts have lost them.”

The Gig Economy and Small Businesses - Industry Migration

As one might predict, the majority of that talent has migrated to either the East or West Coast.

Cities like Seattle and Portland have experienced a net population gain of eight percent over the past year in terms of available contractors, with San Francisco experiencing a six percent gain and New York’s gig economy increasing four percent.

That being said, Denver bucked the trend by posting an eight percent net gain in the size of its freelance pool. The survey also classed Denver as a “hidden gem” due to its high supply of freelance professionals, at approximately 38,000, but relatively low demand.

The Gig Economy and Small Businesses - Supply and Demand

Bearing in mind that the median job for an American contractor lasts for some 11 months, the study suggests that a substantial number of freelancers are indeed willing to relocate — with 13 percent of contractors who switched companies over the last year also moving to a new region.

The data from LinkedIn’s study is aggregated from a range of public LinkedIn profiles, with contractor status having been determined through member supplied position titles and behavioral analysis.

HP Says PC, Printer Businesses Grew for First Time Since 2010

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Revenue from personal systems business rose 9.6 percent to $7.66 billion
  • HP and Lenovo remain the world’s two largest PC makers
  • HP warns of uncertainty in PC business for next two quarters

HP reported better-than-expected results in what its chief executive termed a “breakthrough” quarter as both its PC and printer businesses grew for the first time since 2010.

Shares of the company rose 3.6 percent to $19.7 after the bell on Wednesday.

Revenue from personal systems business, which makes notebooks, desktops and workstations, jumped 9.6 percent to $7.66 billion (roughly Rs. 49,432 crores) in the second quarter ended April 30. The business accounts for nearly two-thirds of the company’s total sales.

Worldwide shipments of PCs rose for the first time in five years in the first quarter of 2017, with HP taking the top spot, according to research firm IDC.

HP Says PC, Printer Businesses Grew for First Time Since 2010

The PC market has benefited as more businesses replace or upgrade their older systems as part of their refresh cycle.

The company’s printer and copier business also posted its first rise in revenue since 2011, driven partly by strong demand for HP Sprocket, a handheld photo printer.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say that,” Chief Executive Officer Dion Weisler said on a post-earnings call, referring to the growth in its printing business.

Last year, HP bought Samsung’s printer business for $1.05 billion to bolster the unit.

However, the company warned about a “little bit of uncertainty” in the PC business for the next two quarters as the company struggles to raise prices on products sold to corporate customers.

The company’s net earnings from continuing operations fell to $559 million, or 33 cents per share, in the latest quarter from $660 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 40 cents per share. Analysts were expecting adjusted earnings of 39 cents per share according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net revenue rose about 7 percent to $12.39 billion (roughly Rs. 79,969 crores), topping analysts’ estimate of $11.94 billion.

The company also forecast full-year adjusted profit of $1.59-$1.66 per share, while analysts are estimating $1.62 per share.

Up to Wednesday’s close, shares of the Palo Alto, California-based company had risen 28.1 percent this year.

Warning! Ransomware Attacks Against Businesses Up 500 Percent In Some States

A new report from Malwarebytes released today shows a dramatic increase in the number of malware attacks U.S. small businesses face.  In fact, 90 percent of small to medium sized businesses reported increased malware detection in Q1 2017 over Q1 2016. A 500 percent increase in ransomware alone was detected in March of this year in ten states.

Ransomware Attacks Are Increasing

All 50 states suffered through a spike in malware detections. In other alarming news, 15 states had their total number of incidents quadruple. Small Business Trends talked with Adam Kujawa,  Director of Malware Intelligence at Malwarebytes and Justin Dolly, EVP, Chief Security Officer and CIO of Malwarebytes. They talked about the latest trends and the types of threats to small businesses highlighted in the report.

Big Problem in the Small Business World

“Ransomware has been a big problem in the SMB world and that has not changed,”  Kujawa says. “We’ve seen a 231 percent increase in incidences between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017.”

Adware is another persistent threat to small business. Kujawa says this is the most prolific malware businesses need to battle at least in part because it constantly changes to evade detection. Arizona had the most striking numbers with a year over year increase of 1774.42 percent. Maine, Alaska and Hawaii followed suit with exponential increases.

Small Businesses Vulnerable

Small businesses are left especially vulnerable. They often don’t have the money to buy the more involved solutions bigger companies and corporations have.  Kujawa says cybercriminals are well aware of this small business Achilles Heel. They often exploit it through creating “spoof” emails that pose as legitimate third party vendors and even banks. These phony emails often contain the malware that gets activated when opened.

“The most prevalent method of distributing malware is through email,” Kujawa says, adding it’s also a common method for small businesses to reach out to third parties.

No Way! Ransomware Attacks Are Increasing Against Businesses Up 500 Percent In Some States

A Layered Approach

Dolly suggests one way for small businesses to combat malware is to understand how to get to the root of the problem. He says having a layered approach to stay ahead of malware variations works. Taking advantage of the latest technology is an important part of the mix.

“For example,” he says, ” a cloud platform should allow small to medium sized businesses to manage all of the end points that could have malware bytes installed.”

High Risk Industries

According to the report, Maine had the the highest rate of malware detection per 100 endpoints. Some of the highest risk industries included retail, tourism and healthcare. These endpoints refer to the laptops, desktops, smartphones and other devices that connect to a network.

The report’s  data was collected from  millions of small to medium sized business computers protected by products from Malwarebytes. There were four types of malware studied — spyware, ransomware, adware and botnets. The study ran from  January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

 

BlackBerry Says Its New Solution Can Help Businesses Monitor WhatsApp Chats

HIGHLIGHTS

  • BlackBerry has partnered VoxSmart to offer data monitoring services
  • It provides ability to capture, record, store and analyse mobile voice
  • Services will be useful for firms to monitor WhatsApp and WeChat chats

To enable financial institutions monitor data on WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging platforms in line with the upcoming European Union (EU) directive, BlackBerry has partnered with the leading mobile surveillance and compliance firm VoxSmart.

Together with BlackBerry UEM (Unified Endpoint Management), which connects and manages endpoints, VoxSmart’s ‘VSmart’ will provide financial services firms with the ability to capture, record, store and analyse mobile voice, text and third-party instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp and WeChat.

BlackBerry Says Its New Solution Can Help Businesses Monitor WhatsApp Chats

“Together with VoxSmart, we can enable businesses around the world to effortlessly capture conversations on endpoints including smartphones, wearables, tablets and laptops,” said Florian Bienvenu, Senior Vice President of EMEA Sales, BlackBerry.

“This joint solution is an excellent example of how BlackBerry is leveraging its software portfolio and developing strong partnerships to secure the Enterprise of Things,” Bienvenu added in a statement.

The companies have partnered to help financial services firms comply on time with the European Union’s “Markets in Financial Instruments Directive” (‘MiFID II’).

MiFID II, which comes into effect on January 3, 2018, demands that all financial services firms in Europe must keep records of all services, activities and transactions for at least five years.

 

Records include all electronic and instant messaging communications, telephone conversations and text messages related to or intended to conclude in a transaction, even if one does not occur.

The directive seeks to make financial markets in Europe more resilient, transparent and investor-friendly.

“VoxSmart is the only global mobile compliance solution that can capture, record, store and analyse both voice and third party instant message applications such as WhatsApp and WeChat,” said Oliver Blower, CEO, VoxSmart.

“Our partnership with BlackBerry has already led to additional proofs of concept exercises from other global investment banks and financial services firms, who are seeing the MiFID II Directive as a chance to refine their approach to mobile security and compliance,” Blower added.

Already successfully deployed to several global investment banks and trading houses, VSmart provides a perfect balance between user experience and compliance, securing and enabling regulated users, all while adhering to stringent global regulations.