Technology advancement has opened new ways to make and spend money. Finding temporary work is easier than ever, and your next freelance engagement is often just a few clicks away.
The workforce across all industries has started recognizing the benefits of joining the gig economy but there are still some concerns and issues that need to be addressed. We’ve therefore compiled these essential gig economy statistics, to provide an insight into the benefits and risks of having a flexible, temporary, or freelance job, along with useful information on the freelance industry trends.
Over one-third of American workers participate in the gig economy through their primary or secondary jobs. This portion works out to a number of approximately 57 million people. For comparison, in 2005 only 10% of the US workforce was part of the gig employment, with the number rising to 15.8% over the course of a decade.
Gallup’s gig economy research suggests that 29% of US workers have an alternative work arrangement as a primary job. Out of these, 24% are full-time workers, and 49% work part-time.
The digital advancements have provided greater opportunities for working from home, changing the shape of the traditional nine-to-five working hours. Currently, more than two-thirds of people work remotely at least once a week, while 53% work from home at least half of the week.
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US gig economy statistics show that throughout 2020, approximately 43% of US workers will be involved in the freelance economy. Come 2027, half of all US-based working population are likely to have joined it.
The number of full-time independent workers by choice rose from 11.2 million (66%) in 2012 to 12.4 million (81%) in 2019. Approximately 3.14 million full-time gig workers (20%) are earning over $100,000 per year.
In the early 2000s, the reluctant gig workforce accounted for 34% of the total number of full-time independents. Since then, the rise of the gig economy has been evident, with only 19% reluctant independents nowadays.
The primary motivation for the freelance workforce is to earn extra cash on the side. 48% of gig workers have joined the freelance economy because of its autonomy and control, while the top reason for 44% of workers was to balance better career and family needs.
Gig economy statistics for the UK show that 1 in 10 adults are part of the gig economy. This number has doubled over the past three years to 4.7 million freelance workers today.
More than half of the gig workforce doesn’t have access to employer benefits which leaves them vulnerable to financial risks. Only 40% receive medical insurance, 25% have access to dental insurance, 20% have life insurance, and only 5% have short-term disability insurance.
At the moment, the gig economy is growing three times faster than the total US workforce, meaning that gig workers are likely to play an important role in the future. The future of the gig economy is certainly bright.
The majority of gig workers (38%) are aged 18-34. This may be because students and recent graduates are more likely to look for more flexible jobs. Also, younger people are more open to work that involves forefront technology. Next comes the 35-54 age group (25%), and only 11% of gig workers are 55+ years old.
In 2018, boomers accounted for 37% of the independent workforce. The latest gig economy statistics show that this number declined to 33% in 2019. The millennials’ share meanwhile went up from 35% to 38%. Gen Z holds a somewhat steady share — 28% in 2018 and 29% in 2019.
It seems that Gen Xers are the least secure gig workers. 63% of them reported they struggle financially compared to 49% of millennials and 32% of boomers. Also, 40% of Gen Xers have said that gig jobs make it difficult for them to stick to a budget and 37% find it difficult to make ends meet.
The gender gap is present in the gig economy too. Men (31%) are more likely to be employed in the gig economy than women (18%). Additionally, freelance economy statistics show a huge discrepancy in payment — female freelancers across all fields earn 84% less money than men.
Millennials are more likely to provide professional services in specialty fields. The most common jobs among millennial gig workers in addition to construction, installation, and repair are in personal care and service, art and design, sales, and media/communication, according to gig economy statistics.
Gen Xers are more likely to provide services in the business and financial sector, as well as media and communications, and IT, while boomers do less skilled gig work and are more involved in sales than any other demographic.
Mastercard’s survey shows that globally, the gig economy generates $204 billion in gross volume with transportation-based services comprising 58%. Additionally, the gross volume is expected to grow at a 17% CAGR, reaching approximately $455 billion by 2023.
The Payoneer Income Survey highlights the gig economy growth. Freelancers now charge averagely $21 per hour which is higher than the average rate of $19 from two years ago which is one of the reasons why people start freelancing or switch completely to the gig economy.
Freelance statistics show that independent workers aged 55-64 earn a record $36 per hour. This group, however, makes only 3% of all freelancers worldwide. Only 1% of all freelancers are aged 65+ and these earn $34 per hour on average. 70% of freelancers are under the age of 35 and 21% are under 25 and their earnings are below $24 per hour.
Gig economy statistics show that the independent workforce struggle financially more than workers with traditional employment. Gig workers’ average annual earnings are only $36,500, compared to $62,500 that full-time employees make a year.
About 3.14 million of the full-time gig workers report earnings over $100,000. This figure is down from 3.3 million in 2018 but still well over 1.95 million in 2011.
The level of satisfaction has been growing steadily over the years. In 2019, 76% of the gig workforce said they are highly satisfied with their choice and 70% intend to continue that path. At the same time, only 7% of the full-time gig workers said they are planning to pursue a more traditional job.
Independent work has tremendous growth potential. Gig economy trends show that one in 6 workers with traditional jobs would be willing to become independent earners.
Working in the gig economy makes 82% of the workforce happier. Additionally, 69% of the freelance workforce say this type of working positively influences their health. Moreover, 53% say they feel more secure working on their own compared to having a traditional job, according to gig economy research.
Apparently, working independently has its perks — workers feel happier, healthier, and more secure. These are the reasons why more than half (53%) of independents would not go back to a traditional job. This figure is up from 48% in 2018.
The most common worry among independent workers is income instability. Freelance economy statistics show that this is the biggest worry for 47%, down from 56% in 2018. 28% of gig workers cite retirement planning as the biggest challenge while 26% are worried about setting boundaries at work. Lack of job security is the biggest concern for 30% of full-time independent workers.
Over one-third (35%) of independent workers think that running your own business is not risky at all. 18% see it as very risky. By comparison, only 5% of those working a traditional job consider running their own business is not risky and 65% consider it very risky.
Over 150 million workers in North America and Western Europe have left their traditional jobs and joined the gig economy. The global freelancer economy reached $4.5 trillion in 2018 and has grown further since.
More than 36% (57 million) of Americans have a gig work arrangement either as their primary or secondary job. This includes a quarter of all full-time workers and half of all part-time workers.
While the freelancer economy gives people more options to work and earn money, there’s another side to the story. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the unemployment rates aren’t fully accurate because gig workers usually report they are being employed even though they aren’t on a payroll.
Additionally, gig workers often account for slowing wage growth because they don’t have the bargaining power of payroll employees. On top of all this, the independent contractor often faces a lack of benefits and low pay.
Whether the gig economy is sustainable is arguable. While it offers great flexibility, there’s also a lack of the safety net typically associated with traditional jobs. Bottom line is that the gig economy is based more on short term gains rather than long term sustainability.
The stats say yes. Definitely yes. Each year there are more and more people that decide to work independently and the majority of them say they are happy doing so. All facts considered, it wouldn’t be surprising if the gig economy overtakes traditional jobs.
The latest gig economy statistics show that being stuck in a 9 to 5 office job is no longer the norm. The greater flexibility, control, and — in some cases — higher earnings have an undeniable appeal. That said, if you’ve decided to go the freelance route, keep in mind the inherent risks before you venture into the exciting world of working for yourself.