Gig Economy Statistics

The potential and future profitability of this non-traditional gig economy model is something to recognize, no matter where you are in your career or what position you hold. Here, we share some key statistics about who is part of the gig economy, how work gets done and what we might expect from the gig economy in the years to come. 

Who is part of the gig economy? 

With the vast array of available opportunities in the gig economy, the demographics of these gig workers is diverse. Here are some intriguing statistics about who considers themselves part of this non-traditional workforce. 

  • Between 25-30% of workers engaged in some form of non-traditional work within the last month 
  • The fastest growing industry for freelancing economy are in knowledge-intensive and creative occupations
  • 8.5% of full-time working population is made up of gig economy workers 
  • 17% of part time working population is made up of gig economy workers 
  • 20-30% of today’s working-age population are part of the independent workforce
  • 37% of full-time gig workers are between the ages of 21 and 38 
  • 150 million workers in North America and Western Europe have moved to work as independent contractors
  • The size of the United Kingdom gig economy doubled from 2016-2019 
  • India is the third largest online labor market 
  • 30% of workers in developing countries claim that they use the gig economy in order to receive secondary sources of income 
  • 29% of U.S. workers have alternative work as their primary job
  • The number of gig workers increased by 24% from 2008-2015 
  • 12.2% of gig workers are females age 20-24 
  • The main reason men chose to be part of the gig economy was their opportunity to be their own leader 

Demographics of gig economy workers

Here are some stats based on the age demographics of these independent workers. 

  • 37% of full-time gig workers are between the ages of 21 and 38 
  • 42% of people between the ages of 18-34 are part of the gig economy 
  • 26% of millennials indicate that they believe working through the gig economy provides more financial security than traditional work
  • 18% of Generation X believe the gig economy offers more security than traditional work 
  • 13% of millennials who work in the gig economy have a retirement plan
  • 15% of Baby Boomers consider the gig economy to be more financially secure than traditional work 
  • Access to money to make ends meet was the top motivation for Gen X workers to be part of the gig economy 
  • Having extra money was the top motivation for gig workers 18-29 years old 
  • 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of millennials by the year 2025 
  • 39% of gig workers do not have retirement savings as part of their portfolio 
  • 40% of gig workers have medical insurance as part of their work 

Education of gig economy workers

Not all gig workers have the same educational background. Here we share some stats about what experience and credentials these freelancers they bring into their work. 

  • 62% of gig workers aged 16-24 were enrolled in school
  • 43% of gig workers aged 25-64 have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher 
  • 93% of gig workers who have earned a college degree stat that their skill training is important to their work they are now completing
  • 79% of gig workers said that their higher education is useful for the work they are now doing 
  • 49% of workers not in the gig economy took part in a training to improve their skills

Economy & industries for gig economy

The gig economy spans industries and types of businesses and organizations. Whether B2B or B2C or provide some other type of service, gig workers can be found. Here are some interesting stats on where you can find these independent workers. 

  • 40% of gig workers are in management-related occupations
  • 16% of gig workers are in sales occupations
  • 11% of gig workers are in the construction industry
  • 15% of gig workers are in the professional and business services industry
  • 31% of gig workers are in education and health services industries
  • 14% of those in the gig economy find opportunities in fields such as arts, entertainment, sports and media
  • 10% of gig workers find their opportunities in fields related to sales 
  • Transportation sectors saw a 53% decrease in earnings from 2013-2017
  • Leasing sectors saw a 69% increase in earnings from 2013-2017
  • $115 per hour is the average pay for gig workers in the artificial intelligence field 
  • 33% of organizations incorporate the gig economy in their IT department 
  • 25% of organizations incorporate the gig economy in their operations
  • 15% of organizations incorporate the gig economy in their marketing processes and operations 
  • 15% of organizations use gig workers in their research and development strategies 
  • 170 business note that they only employ gig economy workers 
  • 53% of gig workers are employed by businesses 
  • 16% of Uber drivers do not have access to health insurance 
  • 70% of drivers in the gig economy are active on both Uber and Lyft platforms 
  • 72% of gig work was completed within a large corporation setting

Gig Economy Workers vs. Non-Gig Workers 

  • Gig (contingent) workers were two times more likely to be under 25 years old than non contingent workers
  • Contingent workers were twice as likely to work part time than non contingent workers 
  • 84% of freelancers indicated they live the lifestyle they prefer, compared to just 54% of employees working in the traditional model jobs
  • 27% of traditional workers agreed that they experienced flexibility in their work 
  • 11% of gig workers have the desire to return to a traditional work format 

Reasons people take gig economy work

The gig economy is growing in popularity for a reason. Here are some reasons why gig workers have started entering the field as a means of primary or secondary sources of income. 

  • 63% of executives who work full-time would choose to become an independent contractor if they had the opportunity to do so
  • 68% of freelancers moved to non-traditional work because of the opportunity to earn extra money
  • 17% of workers in traditional jobs have the desire to move to an independent, gig economy position
  • 19% of gig economy workers said that their main reason for joining is to make extra money and cover regular day-to-day expenses
  • 51% of freelancers would not consider returning to the traditional work model regardless of how much money they were offered 
  • 42% of freelancers chose to pursue gig work because it gave them more flexibility in their schedule
  • 63% of workers who are employed in a traditional setting will transition their work into an opportunity in the gig economy
  • 64% of full-time workers would want to start doing independent work in order to make some extra money 
  • 78% of freelancers indicated they believe they are happier than workers in traditional roles 
  • 50% of gig workers who work full time consider themselves more financially secure than those who are only working a traditional model job 
  • 59% of gig economy workers indicate that they are satisfied with where they are at financially
  • 68% of freelancers say that they are healthier than those working in traditional jobs 
  • 90% of workers in the United States are open to freelance or consulting work 
  • 64% of workers in the gig economy state that they are doing the type of work that they prefer 
  • 81% of freelancers who work full-time have a desire to be their own boss
  • 45% of gig workers would choose to remain independent while continuing to add clients to continue their employment 
  • 75% of gig workers would not be willing to abandon their freelancing positions for a job that was a full-time, traditional role 
  • 88% of gig workers indicated that they were satisfied with their current role within the gig economy 
  • 41% of gig economy workers said that they received their opportunity due to their unique skills 
  • The most satisfied group in the gig economy workforce are those who chose to pursue gig work by choice rather than necessity 
  • 12% of gig workers anticipate building a bigger business in their freelance work 
  • 20% of gig workers said that they would prefer to find a full-time salaried position as their desired future employment
  • 60% of workers in the gig economy lack other options of employment due to either not needing or wanting to pursue alternatives 

Gig economy earnings

Whether a gig worker goes full-time or part time, gig workers can rack up some impressive earnings. Here are some key stats of what kind of earnings gig workers can see in their independent work. 

  • 40% of the workforce in the U.S. make at least 40% of their income through the gig economy 
  • $1.28 trillion was contributed to the U.S. economy by freelancers in 2018
  • $653 is the median weekly income of males participating in the gig economy 
  • $11-$28 is the average hourly rate for freelancers around the globe 
  • 3.3 million gig workers claimed to have earned more than $100,000 
  • 21% of full-time independent gig workers have high earnings and are more likely to work in highly skilled fields 
  • Freelancers tend to earn more in the worker’s own country 
  • 80% of full-time gig workers indicated that an unexpected expense of $1000 would be an amount difficult for them to pay
  • 70% of gig workers agreed that they get paid on a timely basis 
  • 63% of full time gig workers dip into their savings at least once per month 
  • $9.21 is the average hourly wage for Uber drivers 

Gig Economy Platforms 

No matter your skills or experience level, you can find a role in the gig economy that provides you opportunities designed for who you are. Here are some stats based on the variety of options gig workers have when choosing which platforms they work from. 

  • 70% of freelancers discover projects and roles through gig websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Toptal
  • Upwork has over 15 million users
  • 15% of gig workers use a digital platform in order to complete their work
  • 40% of Americans in today’s workforce make at least 40% of their income through gig economy platforms 
  • Independent workers have found shared office spaces to work and collaborate 
  • $350 is the average cost for a shared office space
  • 90% of gig workers who used a coworking space were satisfied with their experience of a shared office 
  • 75% of freelancers say that access to technology and gig platforms makes the opportunity to find work easy 
  • 60% of gig workers said that they use digital marketplaces in order to find additional work 
  • 70% of gig workers access their opportunities for work through an online platform 
  • Paypal is the top payment method for gig economy workers
  • 4% of gig workers state that their top method of finding a job comes through online job platforms 
  • 53% of young adults search for a job
  • 63% of gig workers believe that having a diversified portfolio comes with more security than just one employer 
  • Gig workers partner with an average of 4.5 clients per month 
  • 54% of gig workers promote their work through Facebook 
  • 25-40% of gig workers who make their earnings through leasing opportunities do so using platforms available online
  • 6% of gig workers use platforms that allow them to contribute their services
  • 44% of gig workers who work full-time discover work through word-of-mouth opportunities
  • 12% of full-time gig workers discover opportunities through social media 

Managing Work 

A common characteristic of gig workers is the need to balance several responsibilities with their independent work. Here’s what we found about how these contractors and freelancers manage their work amid all their other responsibilities. 

  • 55% of gig workers also balance a regular or other full-time position
  • Traditional roles are seeking higher benefits that gig economy workers are offered such as flexibility and more opportunities 
  • 50% of independent workers who work full-time consider themselves more financially secure than those who serve in traditional jobs
  • Gig workers are more likely to work more than 45-60 hours per week
  • 95% of gig workers stated that they believed flexibility was important in their work opportunities 
  • Being respected and supported by management is an essential component for effective work regardless of the employee type 
  • Spending more time on meaningful tasks was noted as the top priority for voluntary gig work 
  • 47% of gig workers claimed that they enjoyed working the hours that they did 
  • On average, gig workers engage in their independent work 11 to 20 hours per week 
  • The second priority for gig work includes the opportunity to be self-employed
  • The third priority for those in the gig economy was the convenience of fitting their work around their other needs in life
  • 98% of gig workers who used a coworking environment said that they were happier since joining their membership of the space
  • 79% of people who used a coworking space said that it expanded their social network opportunities 
  • Gig workers spent a billion hours each week freelancing in 2018
  • 61% of independent workers chose to pursue gig work

The gig economy is here to stay. Here are what some researchers and reports say about the future of the gig economy in the years to come. 

  • 52% of the adult workforce is expected to be working or have worked as a gig worker within the next five years
  • The days of the majority of workers in a traditional employment position working a 9-5 shift are gone 
  • 71% of gig economy workers indicated that the work made available to them increased within the last year 
  • 90% of gig workers anticipate a bright future ahead for the gig economy 
  • 40% of companies said that their workforce will continue to grow in number of gig workers as part of their teams
  • 40% of executives believe that independent workers will continue to be an increased share of their workforce in the next five years 
  • The gig economy is reported to be growing three times faster than traditional working models 
  • By 2027, more than 50% of the U.S. workforce is expected to participate in the gig economy 
  • 75% of gig workers said that access to technology makes it easier for people to discover their work 
  • 80% of large companies intend to transition into a more flexible work format by increasing their use of non-traditional workers in the years to come 
  • 50% of executives think that corporations utilizing the gig economy will be a significant trend
  • 80% of major companies in the United States are planning on transitioning to some sort of gig economy work 
  • The gig economy is growing three times faster than the total working population

Take Advantage of a Flexible Approach to Work 

The gig economy presents a wide range of appealing characteristics that excites and intrigues many traditional employees. Whether you’re considering joining the gig economy or incorporating this platform into your existing workforce, it’s helpful to know the popularity and demand for freelance and independent contract work. With such profound findings such as these, you won’t want to miss the future of what the gig economy has to offer you and your workplace. 

Special thanks to research and data from iOffice, Gig Economy Data, HBR, BLS, Zety, Go Remotely, Small Biz Genius, Statista, and Forbes that helped us compile this awesome list!