Gig Economy Statistics

Nowadays, people are no longer flipping through newspaper pages to look for jobs. Instead, many use their phones or computers to access gig economy platforms. After all, the rising gig economy statistics prove that it’s truly the future of work.

The word “gig” means a specific short-term job that can range anywhere from a couple of dollars for writing a short article, to thousands of dollars for producing a video. The variety of the jobs in the gig economy are proof that anyone can be a part of it, whatever skills they may have.

In 2018, around 36 percent of workers in the US were part of the gig economy in some capacity. This includes people who work for online platforms such as Bunny Studio, contract nurses, temp workers, drivers, and many more. Although traditional employees still make up the majority of the country’s workforce, 1 in every 6 workers at US companies are gig workers.

Millions of people are letting go of their traditional 9-to-5 jobs in favor of establishing multiple income streams that enable them to enjoy better flexibility. To help you see the countless possibilities this work set-up can offer, we’ve compiled some gig economy statistics below.

Different Remote Economy Companies 

The gig economy is driven by different platforms that allow workers to connect with companies where they can find more opportunities to earn. These jobs would otherwise be impossible to find in their current professional networks.

All companies can benefit from the gig economy, but the standout industries are logistics, healthcare, media and creative sectors, and professional services.

The gig economy’s potential to transform industries is evident in the hospitality sector.  One of the biggest remote economy companies today is Airbnb, which is the premier platform for home rentals. There are over 150 million Airbnb hosts who earn an average of $924 monthly per listing.

The gig economy is also causing a massive shift in the transportation industry. From 2000 to 2017, sole proprietorships in taxi services increased by 722 percent. In 2019, Uber had 3.5 million drivers. Based on its 95 million app installations in 2020 alone, its massive customer base will keep providing gigs to its drivers.

Gig Economy Before and After the Pandemic

The increase in gig economy workers did not just start during the pandemic. Even before COVID-19 hit, the Bureau of Labor Statistics already noted that a whopping 55 million Americans were part of the gig economy.

When the COVID-19 happened, the gig economy was immensely affected, with 52 percent losing their jobs, and 26 percent experiencing reduced working hours. Despite this, the pandemic has also become an inspiration for many people to consider the gig economy for their next career move.

Social distancing guidelines have forced many companies to try remote working and hire more gig workers. Around 32 percent of companies have replaced their full-time employees with gig workers since the pandemic began. This setup allows them to save more money.

Now, it is estimated that the gig economy contributes a staggering $1.2 trillion to the US economy. This pattern is not just unique to the US. Globally, the gig economy represents a significant economic contribution.

The gig economy contributes $20.1 trillion to the global economy, including $1.71 trillion in Canada, $1.22 trillion in Mexico, and $1.6 trillion in Russia.

Remote work has had a 513 percent jump in Japan, 300 percent in the UK, and 329 percent in Spain. Even Australia’s gig economy grew nine times between 2015 to 2019. There are even countries like Niger that have a 95.1 percent self-employment rate, which is the highest in the world.

Who Are Gig Economy Workers?

The gig economy features unique patterns about its workers. Around 74 percent are white Americans, 17 percent are African Americans, 16 percent are Hispanics, and 5.8 percent are Asians. There are also more men employed as gig workers. Around 54 percent are men, and 46 percent are women.

Most US workers are between 25 to 54 years old, who make up 64 percent of the workforce. This age category makes up a bigger chunk of gig economy workers at 71 percent. Although it is less likely for remote workers to be under 25 years old or over 55 years old, the demographic variations can differ depending on the nature of work.

Half of the remote workers over 25 years old have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to only 35 percent of the population. However, the level of education of remote workers only plays a small role when it comes to the general pay rates. For instance, high school graduates can earn an average of $22 per hour. And those with bachelor’s degrees make $19 per hour.

Are Gig Workers Happy? 

The gig economy covers most non-traditional jobs. So it’s clear that this arrangement has been booming for a long time. But what do most workers think about it compared to traditional jobs?

Around 71 percent of traditional workers consider themselves doing their preferred work. This number is not a far cry compared with the 64 percent of gig workers who say the same thing.

Nevertheless, a clearer distinction can be seen when gig economy statistics are broken down. For example, remote workers which include independent contractors and online platform workers can enjoy a higher level of work-life balance, autonomy, and creative freedom, among many other benefits. These professionals are happier when compared with workers of traditional working arrangements.

gig economy statistics

The Income of Gig Workers

Despite the popularity of gig economy opportunities, a lot of people remain skeptical about the viability and sustainability of gig work. However, the numbers prove otherwise.

Gig workers are able to make more money because they can take on more assignments if they want to. In a survey of more than 23,000 freelancers in 180 countries, freelancers were found to work an average of 36 hours per week, and earn $21 per hour. This is higher compared to traditional workers but the numbers depend on the industry.

Around 44 percent of professionals in the gig economy claim that it’s their primary source of income. Gig economy statistics like this do not come as a surprise considering how gig economy jobs have increased thanks to technological advances that enable people to work wherever and whenever they prefer.

Now, workers can find various opportunities through websites such as Bunny Studio which connect them directly with companies and employers who need their help to complete tasks. At the same time, the gig economy has also enabled companies to easily find reliable professionals from all over the globe through online platforms.

In this way, the gig economy represents a mutually beneficial arrangement. Workers are able to receive better pay for their skills. Employers are able to tap into a wider labor pool.

The Upsides of the Gig Economy

Many workers want to become part of the gig economy because of the benefits it offers. For example, around 60 percent of gig workers say that their working conditions are flexible.

Many professionals are tired of the set schedules in the office. Another draw for many workers is to have a better quality of life outside their jobs. This way, they can do activities they love or have more time to de-stress.

Around 70 percent of workers are fed up with the lack of flexibility a 9-to-5 job gives. And note that number note only includes millennials but older workers as well.

The gig economy is the best solution for people who want to achieve a work-life balance. Among people who worked full-time as gig workers, more than half say that being able to choose which jobs to take is one of the reasons why the setup appeals so much to them.

Most gig workers also have the luxury to choose when they want to work, and where they want to work from. Because gig workers are not limited by their location, they can have clients from overseas. And they can also move to locations that have a lower cost of living.

Many Gig Economy Workers Have Full Time Jobs 

Considering gig economy statistics like these, one can conclude that many gig workers are not satisfied with what they were making at their traditional jobs and need a supplementary source of income.

The main reason why workers rely on the gig economy is so they can make ends meet. Whether professionals are finding it hard to pay their bills, or just want to save more, they can become gig workers. The gig economy is a great way to make extra money. Also, 19 percent of people say they still have gig jobs so they can have more cash, especially during emergencies. Financial need continues to be a driver for many workers to turn to the gig economy.

A lot of millennials are not satisfied with having one full-time job. Although most millennials still love their jobs and take time to have vacations, many still feel that there is more that awaits them outside their office walls. This includes earning more income on top of their salary.

From 2003 to 2015, the proportion of income by the millennial generation from the gig economy jumped from 57 percent to 72 percent. This shows the impact that the gig economy has on younger workers. As a result, the prospects of the gig economy are likely to continue to increase. Importantly, younger workers may already be developing the necessary skills to meet these future job opportunities.

The Future of Gig Economy Is Bright

If there’s anything we can learn from the different gig economy statistics, it’s that the gig economy offers very attractive opportunities to workers of different backgrounds and industries. Seeing its growth over the years simply proves that the setup is a win/win opportunity for professionals and companies alike.

These trends are likely to continue. As workers gain familiarity and develop important skills, the gig economy will continue to provide opportunities for businesses and workers around the globe to mutually benefit.