This paper presents the results of a consilience framework developed and tested to reconcile the varying definitions, methodologies and purposes of the data collected on independent contracting within Australia. The result is a multilayered profile of the self-employed contractor which draws together official labour market statistics, taxation office liabilities and marketing-based consumer data sources. The framework sees independent contractors emerge as a dynamic, entrepreneurial and complex group who defy many of the age, gender and industry stereotypes that law and policy makers confine them to. While these initial results are limited to Australia, the challenge independent contractors present to established systems of legal, social and government regulation are embedded within the wider contexts of self-employment and small business. These contexts are universal and the sooner these challenges are answered, the sooner the opportunities they also present can be realised.
- independent contractors
- mixed methods
- small business
- small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)