Sally-Anne Gross, Principal Lecturer in Music Business Management and Course Leader in MA Music Business, contributed to a new Fabian Society Policy Report on Minds at Work.
The new report reveals that Britain’s ever-changing labour market is creating new risks for mental health, highlighting the link between self-employed workers and mental illnesses. In particular, the report encourages people to rethink attitudes towards mental health, making recommendations including the reformation of statutory sick pay and the creation of a new insurance scheme to protect the incomes of self-employed workers, should they need to take time off work.
Sally-Anne wrote a chapter entitled: ‘Mental health in the new economy’, focusing on the challenges that technology and insecure employment models are bringing for workers’ mental health. The chapter details the research that she and her colleague, Dr George Musgrave, undertook in 2016, investigating the working lives of musicians in Britain. The survey results shockingly indicated that 68.5 per cent of participants had experienced depression, while 71 per cent had experienced some form of anxiety.
In her report, she stated: “The findings of our research are particularly poignant if we are to understand the impact of the ever-increasing instability of work and the growth of the gig economy more broadly. Our research illustrates that the impact of precarious labour conditions are not only economic.”
Her chapter further highlighted the impact that the lack of a predictable, stable income has on working musicians, pointing out that they cannot actively plan for a future and therefore reach life milestones. “With increasing numbers of young adults unable to leave home or move somewhere they might have a chance of finding better work, they report feeling ‘trapped’ and talk of having no future,” she said.
Sally-Anne concluded her chapter by reinforcing the need for immediate action to be taken to alleviate the ongoing problems faced by those working short-term or zero-hours contracts, as well as the self-employed.