The gig economy is a rising workforce consisting of short-term workers, including freelancers and contractors. It’s increased the quality of seasonal workers that businesses hire and allows some to save money by eliminating the need to provide benefits, office space, or training. Recent gig economy statistics show how this labor landscape significantly influences business performance.
The rise in popularity of the gig economy demands an efficient platform to connect gig workers with potential employers. Fiverr is a great marketplace that helps match freelance professionals with employers looking for project-based hires. For as low as $5, you can hire freelancers with various expertise to ensure you get the best results. Sign up for access to Fiverr’s pool of professionals today.
Here are 27 gig economy stats you should know for 2019.
Gig Economy Statistics on Growth
1. According to research, 41.8 million adult Americans work independently
The MBO Partners State of Independence survey reports 41.8 million adult Americans work independently in 2018. This is an increase from the 2017 survey showing 40.9 million adults are self-employed. With growth like this, businesses should consider diversifying their workforce to include independent workers on their team and maximize their chance at hiring top talent.
2. Of all United States-based workers, 40% generate a large part of their income via the gig economy
Data from PYMNTS latest Gig Economy Index shows that around 40% of U.S. workers generate 40% of their income by working independently. This shows how much people depend on the gig economy financially, with many forced to do gig work in addition to their regular job to make ends meet. This means businesses may need to consider offering more flexibility in their workforce as long as they continue hiring skilled talent.
3. The government or public sector is the top employer of freelance workers in 2018 at 14%
Statista reports that in 2018, 14% of gig workers were employed by the government or public sector. This makes it the top industry that hires freelancers selling professional and business services, with the education and health service industry trailing closely behind at 10%. Industries like technology, leisure, and hospitality should consider hiring more independent contract workers, especially for customer-facing roles that would benefit from 24/7 availability.
4. Studies show that 20% of independent workers have earned at least $100,000 from freelancing in 2019
Respondents of Statista survey showed 20% of freelancers reported at least $100,000 income for 2019. This is a 12.5% increase in the results in 2011, which proves there’s an increasing demand for freelance professionals in the labor market.
5. U.S. freelancers contributed $1.28 trillion to the American economy in 2018
The MBO State of Independence study points out that full-time independent workers in the U.S. added $1.28 trillion to the economy last year. That’s nearly as much as the total gross domestic product (GDP) of Spain.
6. Of all gig economy workers, 27% are 16 to 25 years of age
According to a survey by Gig Economy Data, 27% of contingent workers are between 16-25 years old. This is the largest and youngest group of contract-based hires, followed by 23% of individuals from 26-35 years of age. This research further suggested that you can find these younger age groups through online platforms, which means if your business tends to hire younger employees, you should consider posting new jobs online through sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and so on.
7. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show 10.1% of U.S. workers rely on temp agency work, on-call work, contracted work, and freelancing
According to the latest Contingent Worker Supplement (CWS) administered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 10.1% of workers rely on alternative arrangements for their main job. It shows how job seekers are moving towards contractual forms of employment over regular 9-to-5 jobs as a main source of income. This is a huge plus for small businesses working on a limited budget as freelancing allows them to hire high-quality talent at a fraction of the cost (no employee benefits, fewer payroll taxes).
8. A significant 70% of gig economy workers cite work-life balance as the main reason for choosing freelance jobs
According to Statista, work-life balance is the main reason why 70% of gig economy workers chose freelancing over regular jobs. This is interesting to note since it’s also been reported that 16% of freelancers spend more than 40 hours per week on the job. Therefore, small businesses can shift their employee benefits to support work-life balance (more time off) instead of salary increases.
9. Approximately 170 gig economy companies in the U.S. only hire remote workers
CNBC survey shows the largest U.S. virtual companies like AnswerConnect and InVision are getting involved in the gig economy. Additionally, more than 30% of Fortune 500 companies are using Upwork’s platform to find talent. Small business owners should take a cue from these large brands and create a more flexible, dynamic team with highly talented remote workers.
Gig Economy Statistics on Job Satisfaction
10. More than 50% of full-time independent workers feel more financially secure than those in traditional employment
Gig economy statistics from 2019 provided by MBO’s State of Independence report show that more than half of full-time independent workers feel more financially secure than they would in traditional jobs. To compete, small business owners should address freelancers’ concerns about job security and medical coverage when hiring. A good strategy would be focusing on providing full-time employment with a compensation plan that combines a decent salary with great medical benefits.
11. Some 26% of millennials think the gig economy offers more security than traditional work
T. Rowe Price Group’s survey results show that 26% of U.S. millennials believe the freelancing jobs in the U.S. are more financially secure than regular full-time employment. This number is lower among members of Generation X (18%) and baby boomers (15%). This means businesses should regularly reassess their salary and benefits plan and adjust accordingly.
12. There are 84% of freelancers who say that they are living their preferred lifestyle, compared to just 54% of those working in traditional jobs
Upwork’s research shows how most workers now prioritize lifestyle over earnings. Freelancers are finding it easier to strike the right work-life balance than those working full-time jobs. This is a sign that businesses should begin focusing their employer branding efforts to show that they place value in providing work-life balance to their employees by allowing telecommuting and flexible time schedules.
13. One in six traditional job workers would like to become an independent earner
McKinsey & Company research found that one in six traditional job workers would like to switch to working independently. This indicates that companies should increase efforts at changing their business model to adapt to remote and freelance employees.
14. Some 41% of independent workers are satisfied with the companies with which they’re working
According to Statista, 41% of independent workers are happy with their current employers. This shows how companies are adjusting their company mission, purpose, and values to embrace the culture of gig economy workers.
15. Of all independent workers, 59% cite flexible time as an important factor in choosing gig work
Statista reports in a 2018 survey that independent workers prioritize flexible working times. This shows that not all contract-based work allows for flexible working hours, which is a determining factor on what industry and job type are in demand.
16. Only 7% of employers make flexible work available to most employees
According to Global Workplace Analytics, only 7% of employers make flexible working times available for their employees. This is interesting since 40% more U.S. employers offer flexible workplace options than they did five years ago. One possible explanation is that the increase in gig workers who work remotely and/or at flexible times made it hard for businesses to see the need to provide flexible hours to its other employees.
Gig Economy Stats on Salary and Benefits
17. The average freelance hourly rate ranges from $11 to $28 across the globe
Payoneer’s 2018 Income Survey shows hourly rates for freelancers fall between $11 and $28 depending on the industry, with the average income for freelancers being $19. These freelance rates explain, in part, why people begin to freelance or switch completely to the gig economy. Freelancers who receive the highest pay rates are often highly skilled and willing to work long hours, so to make employment more appealing, be sure to offer fair salary or hourly wages.
18. Of all full-time freelancers, 81% work as independents to be their own boss
Statista reports the top reasons for doing freelance work and shows that the most common answer among freelancers was that they wanted to be their own boss. This was the case for 81% of full-time freelancers who work in the gig economy as well as 61% of those engaged in part-time freelancing work
19. More than 50% of gig workers don’t have access to employer-provided benefits
Prudential’s report on gig workers in America shows that just 40% of independent workers have access to employer-sponsored medical insurance, while 25% have dental insurance, 20% have life insurance, and only 5% have access to short-term disability insurance. Small businesses can attract and retain quality talent by setting-up employee benefits for gig workers.
20. Only 40% of gig economy workers reported have access to employer-based medical insurance
Statista reports that 40% of gig economy workers have access to employer-based medical insurance. In comparison, 82% of full-time employees enjoy the same benefits. Businesses that offer employer-based medical insurance are more attractive to job seekers and would be more open to negotiating their basic pay.
21. Studies show that 26% of millennial gig workers have access to employer-based medical insurance
According to Statista reports, access to medical care is more available to older gig workers. 55% of baby boomer gig workers get employer-based medical insurance, compared to 36% of Generation X, and 26% of millennials.
This can be brought on by a couple of factors. For one, older gig workers still benefit from the jobs they worked in the past via the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) system. Also, older gig workers would more likely accept a lesser pay in exchange for better health benefits.
22. Only 16% of gig economy workers reported having assets in employer-sponsored retirement plans
A Statista survey reports that 16% of gig economy workers reported having assets in employer-sponsored retirement plans. This is a far cry compared to 52% of full-time employees enjoying the same benefits. Small business owners can capitalize on this by offering retirement plan packages to freelancers, making them more attractive as an employer.
23. The average freelancer reaches their financial goal in 23 months
According to the State of the Freelance Nation 2018 Survey by WiseBrand, the average freelancer reaches their financial goal in 23 months and shows it is evolving into a financially secure career path. Meanwhile, 52% of those who earn $75,000 annually reached their earning goal within a year.
The Future of the Gig Economy
24. Survey results show that 64% of freelancers found work online
Upwork’s report on Freelancing in America for 2018 showed the increase of online work available for freelance workers. This shows the increasing popularity of remote or online employment.
25. Millennials will form 75% of the global workforce by 2025
Forbes reports that, by 2025, millennials will constitute most of the world’s workforce—75% of it to be exact. When we consider that young people freelance more than any other generation, this suggests a positive future for the gig economy as a whole.
26. Freelancers will make up 50.9% of the U.S. workforce by 2027
Statista projects that by 2027, 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the U.S. This number will make up 50.9% of the country’s total workforce. Therefore, companies should register on reputable freelance websites to have access to a larger talent pool. Building long-term relationships with quality freelancers now can give businesses a leg up against competitors who wait.
27. Of the large U.S. companies, 80% plan to switch to a flexible workforce
According to the Intuit 2020 report on the future of gig work, more than 80% of U.S.-based large companies will greatly increase their use of non-traditional workers in the coming years.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Gig Economy Statistics
The gig economy enables businesses to hire experts for specific projects who might be too high-priced to maintain on staff, but even with its increasing significance to business performance, there are still those who have yet to capitalize on this shift in the labor market.
What is a gig economy?
The gig economy is a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term or freelance work. People who choose to join this workforce are attracted by the flexibility they have with the time and place for work.
Are there different types of gig workers?
Gig workers vary depending on the work arrangement. There are freelancers, temp-agency workers, and online platform workers.
Which industry hires the most gig workers?
Government agencies (14%) hire the most gig workers. This is followed by professional and business services in a close second as well as education and health services trailing at 10%.
How much does a gig worker make on average?
According to Payoneer, the average freelance hourly rate ranges from $11 to $28 across the globe. The actual pay depends on the skills you bring to the table and the demand for that skill set.
Where can someone find legit gig jobs?
The gig economy is truly revolutionizing the worldwide economy and the way we think about employment. It allows businesses to match the talent pool gap and get on-demand professionals easily and efficiently while potentially saving thousands of dollars.
Ready to start diversifying your workforce? Hire freelancers from platforms like Fiverr. Fiverr is a great marketplace that helps match freelance professionals with employers looking for project-based hires. For as low as $5, you can hire freelancers with various expertise to ensure you get the best results. Sign up for access to Fiverr’s pool of professionals today.