37 Percent of Discussions on Gig Economy Negative, Study Finds

Media calls it the force that could save the American worker. But independent workers feel differently about the gig economy.

According to a new media analysis by Cision, on behalf of The Rockefeller Foundation, about 37 percent of overall discussions on gig economy is negative.

Clearly, there’s a “disconnect between news coverage of the independent workforce and the voice of independent workers on social media channels.”

Is the Gig Economy Bad for Small Businesses?

Highlights of Cision’s Media Analysis

The analysis identified four groups of independent workers: parents, retirees, recent graduates and small business owners.

Some interesting insights that emerged from the analysis are:

  • Most negatively toned discussions were on taxes, worry and insurance.
  • Retirees often go online with their questions about taxes and retirement plans.
  • Thirty-five percent of discussion from recent graduates were about looking for work, discussing additive work, or using gig labor to supplement income from a primary job.

“Workers are trying to find ways to make ends meet and they are going online to find advice from each other on how to do just that,” said Caitlin Jamali, Cision’s senior insights analyst.

Over one-third of the conversations about the gig economy are negative. Is this a sign of uncertainty or is the gig economy bad for small businesses?

Small Businesses Worried About Income

A closer look at the discussions led by small business owners reveals hourly rates and not being able to earn enough money are their top concerns.

It’s also worth noting that about 12 percent of the small business conversations are related to general worry.

Cision analyzed more than 540,000 news media and blog articles as well as 132,000 social media posts for the report.

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.

Lenovo's Global PC Shipments Fall 1 Percent, Slower Than Market Decline

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Revenue from PC and smart device business fell 2 percent to $30.1 billion
  • Lenovo blamed a 4 percent drop in revenue on difficult macro environment
  • Lenovo said its worldwide PC market share rose to 21.4 percent

China’s Lenovo Group, the world’s largest personal computer maker, said its global PC unit shipments fell 1 percent in the year ending in March, against a market decline of 3 percent, as consumer demand continued its downward trend.

Revenue from its personal computer and smart device business, which accounts 70 percent of total revenue, fell 2 percent to $30.1 billion (roughly Rs. 1,94,226 crores).

Lenovo blamed a 4 percent drop in total revenue to $43 billion (roughly Rs. 2,77,450 crores) on difficult macro environment, its own business transformation efforts, and component supply constraints in the second half of the year.

Lenovo's Global PC Shipments Fall 1 Percent, Slower Than Market Decline

For the full year ended March, Lenovo posted a profit of $535 million (roughly Rs. 3,451 crores), reversing a loss of $128 million a year prior. The result compared with the $569 million average of 24 estimates.

According to market intelligence firm Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totalled 62.2 million units in the first quarter of 2017, the 10th consecutive quarterly decline and the first time since 2007 for the figure to drop below 63 million.

Lenovo said its worldwide PC market share for the full year rose 0.4 percentage point to a record high of 21.4 percent, though that is down from 22.4 percent in the previous quarter.

“Despite market conditions that will remain challenging in the short term, the Group exited the year with stronger organization allowing for sharper customer focus and more compelling product portfolio across all our business,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing said in a filing.

PC competition took a step up this week when China’s largest mobile phone maker, Huawei, said it would enter the market for premium consumer models.

 

Lenovo also competes with Huawei in mobile, which accounts for 18 percent of its revenue. The business’ loss widened to $566 million last year from $469 million a year prior on a 10 percent drop in revenue to $7.7 billion, though Lenovo said the business had strong growth in markets outside China, especially Latin America and Western Europe.

The company’s smaller data centre business, which includes servers and enterprise services, incurred a loss of $343 million, with revenue down 11 percent to $4.07 billion.

Yang said Lenovo’s core PC business remained solid, transformation for mobile businesses is on track, while it is accelerating efforts to improve its data centre business.

He said last week Lenovo will reorganise domestic operations in response to the changing PC industry. Lenovo China will split into two divisions: one focused on consumer PCs and smart devices, and the other on data centres.

Lenovo’s profit for the three months through March dropped 41 percent to $107 million. That beat the $93.8 million average of 11 analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $9.58 billion, against an estimate of $9.6 billion.

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.

 

70 Percent Mobile Apps Share Your Data With Third-Party Services: Study

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 70% of smartphone apps are reporting personal data to third-party cos.
  • Some of the information these apps are collecting is necessary
  • Lumen Privacy Monitor analyses and reports the traffic apps send out

More than 70 percent of smartphone apps are reporting personal data to third-party tracking companies like Google Analytics, the Facebook Graph API or Crashlytics, warns a new study.

When people install a new Android or iOS app, it asks the user’s permission before accessing personal information. Some of the information these apps are collecting are necessary for them to work properly: A map app wouldn’t be nearly as useful if it couldn’t use GPS data to get a location.

But once an app has permission to collect that information, it can share your data with anyone the app’s developer wants to – letting third-party companies track where you are, how fast you are moving and what you are doing.

To get a picture of what data are being collected and transmitted from people’s smartphones, the researchers from IMDEA Networks Institute in Spain developed a free Android app of their own, called the Lumen Privacy Monitor.

It analyses the traffic apps send out, to report which applications and online services actively harvest personal data.

Because Lumen is about transparency, a phone user can see the information installed apps collect in real time and with whom they share these data.

70 Percent Mobile Apps Share Your Data With Third-Party Services: Study

“We try to show the details of apps’ hidden behaviour in an easy-to-understand way. It’s about research, too, so we ask users if they’ll allow us to collect some data about what Lumen observes their apps are doing – but that doesn’t include any personal or privacy-sensitive data,” the researchers said in a statement released by the institute.

This unique access to data allowed the researchers to study how mobile apps collect users’ personal data and with whom they share data at an unprecedented scale.

More than 1,600 people who have used Lumen since October 2015 allowed the researchers to analyse more than 5,000 apps.

“We discovered 598 internet sites likely to be tracking users for advertising purposes, including social media services like Facebook, large Internet companies like Google and Yahoo, and online marketing companies under the umbrella of internet service providers like Verizon Wireless,” the study said.

More than 70 percent of the apps were connected to at least one tracker, and 15 percent of them were connected to five or more trackers, the findings showed.

“Tracking users on their mobile devices is just part of a larger problem. More than half of the app-trackers we identified also track users through websites. Thanks to this technique, called ‘cross-device’ tracking, these services can build a much more complete profile of your online persona,” the researchers said.

India Tablet Sales Declined 16 Percent in March Quarter: CMR

HIGHLIGHTS
Sales of tablet PCs fell by 16 percent year-on-year, says CMR report
tablet shipments in the March quarter were also down by 6 percent
Datawind continued to hold the top spot with 34 percent market share
Sales of tablet PCs fell by 16 percent year-on-year to around 7.6 lakh units during January-March, hurt by lack of any promotional activity by device makers, says a report.

The tablet shipments in the March quarter were also down by 6 percent compared to the previous October-December quarter, the report by research firm CMR said.

Datawind continued to hold the top spot with 34 percent market share, followed iBall with 16 percent share, the report said. Samsung had 15 percent share while homegrown Micromax had 8 percent share.

“The continuous decline in the tablet space could be attributed to the lack of promotional activities in the space.

Aadhaar has, of course, provided a lot of impetus to the market (as it increases orders from government sector),” CMR Lead-Analyst (Tablets) Menka Kumari said.

India Tablet Sales Declined 16 Percent in March Quarter: CMR

However, at the same time, B2C consumption entirely depends on the promotional activities and some exciting features, she added.

CMR said upcoming GST regime is also going to affect the tablet market, but the magnitude can be gauged only later as a lot of clarity is expected to come on the implementation front.

4G tablets segment will constitute 50 percent of the market by the end of this year, the report added.

According to CMR’s “India Quarterly Tablet PC Market Review-1Q 2017” report, Android-based tablets have already captured the majority of the market while Windows-based tablets have seen continuous decline in India.

“The smartphone market has moved towards 4G and the tablets segment would also follow the same trend. The demand for SIM-enabled devices will continue to grow while Wi-Fi enabled devices will continue to see demand from the student community,” said Menka Kumari, Lead Analyst, Tablets, CMR, in a statement.

4G and 3G-based tablets witnessed sequential increase of 15 percent and 31 percent in terms of units shipped.

Alternatively, 2G and Wi-Fi based tablets saw a sharp decline of 62 percent and 33 percent, respectively, as compared to the previous quarter, the findings showed.

The tablet market within the price category of Rs. 10,000-Rs. 20,000 and less than Rs. 5,000 witnessed 48 percent and four percent sequential growth, respectively, during the quarter.

On the other hand, the price category of Rs. 20,000-30,000 saw a sharp 61 percent sequential decline, the report added.

Written with inputs from PTI and IANS