Updated: Jan 25, 2021
The Future of our Workforce is Changing
The gig and alternative worker economy is moving at a rapid pace and is taking over the world, and the United States is no exception. An increasing number of organizations and workers are opting for the gig model, primarily because of more flexible working conditions. Younger generations are leading the way, although there’s a significant number of gig workers who were born well before the 1980s.here are numerous factors influencing the growth of the gig alternative worker economy. Companies are turning to these workers to add expertise for shorter time-frames, manage projects and focus on areas that are not in the wheelhouse of the organization. This is a cost-effective way to get the work done and move the needle quickly without formally adding to organizational headcount.
While the gig worker was already working in most cases remotely, the “new normal” has generated more opportunity for national and global opportunities. With this decreasing need for a physical presence in the workplace, it’s easier than ever to work for multiple employers simultaneously.
Still, being a gig economy worker comes at a price. Gig workers enjoy a flexible lifestyle and the freedom of being their own boss, but many sacrifice their financial security and income predictability, but many say this is worth the risk. The gig mindset establishes an assertive and high level or work product delivery, which is a direct benefit to the organization who engages a gig worker.
THE GIG TRENDS
According to one study, the freelance economy is growing three times faster than the traditional workforce in the United States. What was once considered a fringe employment model has now become mainstream. While from a reputation perspective, the gig worker still faces a perspective challenge the vast experience gained is similar to working for a Big 4 consulting firm.
Gig Economy Stats & Facts – Highlights
It is estimated that the percentage of US workers participating in the gig economy will increase to 43% in 2020.
More than 90% of US workers would consider freelancing or independent contracting work.
Only 35% of America’s self-employed are female.
Almost half of all millennials use online gig economy platforms to find work.
California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois offer the best opportunities for remote workers.
The total freelancing income is almost $1 trillion.
57% of contracting workers work more than 40 hours per week.
On average, gig workers earn 58% less than full-time employees. More than half don’t have access to employer-provided benefits.
1. Over one-third of US workers (36%) participate in the gig economy, either through their primary or secondary jobs. Source: (Small Business Labs, Gallup, Statista)
This number comprises around 57 million Americans. It’s not just multiple job holders; for 29% of US workers, their primary job is actually an alternative work arrangement. Of these, 23% full-time workers and 49% work part-time.
According to the Bureau of Labor projections, the portion of gig economy workers will increase to 43% in 2020.
2. More than 90% of Americans would consider freelancing or independent contracting work.
Source: (Manpower Group; MetLife)
The percentage of people leaning towards the gig economy is increasing in the US, this is still considered an emerging economy. India and Mexico, 97% of people are open to freelance, contract, temporary, or independent contractor work. In general, countries with a higher percentage of younger workers lean toward alternative working models. An interesting trend found that 85% of US employers participating in gig economy are interested in continuing contract work for the next 5 years.
3. Flexible working conditions, with 60% of independent gig workers consider their working conditions to be flexible. Source: (Forbes)
In contrast, only 27% of regular workers believe they have a flexible job. Around 47% of independent gig workers are satisfied with their working hours, as opposed to 34% of workers engaged in on-demand jobs and gigs, and the same percentage of workers with traditional jobs. The move to gig creates more job satisfaction.
4. The main reason why people look for jobs in the gig market is to attain better work-life balance, with 70% of freelance survey respondents identifying this. Source: (FlexJobs, FreshBooks)
According to one survey from two years ago, other top motivations are:
Desire to choose when to work” (62% of respondents)
Desire to be (their) own boss” (49%)
Ability to choose the most suitable projects” (46%)
Eliminating commuting costs
Avoiding office politics and distractions
Larger job market footprint
5. Millennials and baby boomers dominate the gig work market, comprising 37% and 35% of full-time independent workers respectively. Source: (MBO Partners)
Only 28% of independent workers belong to Generation X (people aged 39 to 54).
6. 48% of millennials use gig economy platforms to find work or engage in business with clients.
On the other hand, 35% of Gen Xers and only 19% of baby boomers browse Facebook groups like Virtual Workers of America or gig economy websites such as Jooble, Upwork, Freelancer, and Upward careers to find work.
7. Gig economy job statistics: According to the latest available data, most US gig workers are hired in the government/public sector (14%). Source: (Statista)
The other main industries in which US gig economy workers are employed are professional and business services (10%), education and health (10%), manufacturing (9%), construction (9%), financial activities (8%) ), information (8%), trade, transportation, and utilities (7%), leisure and hospitality (6%), and tech (5%). Other industries comprise the remaining 12%.
8. 93% of freelancers with a four-year college degree consider training to be important for the work they currently do. Freelancers invest in ongoing education, certifications, and training. Source: (Freetrain)
An independent study commissioned in partnership with Upwork and a leading freelance union suggests that freelancers generally place more value on skills training. In the study, 79% of respondents said their higher education was useful for their current work. Indeed, 70% of gig workers participated in some kind of training versus only 49% of full-time non-freelance workers.
9. There are approximately 170 gig economy companies in the United States that only hire remote workers. Source: (CNBC)
Among the largest US virtual companies are AnswerConnect, InVision, Automattic, and Toptal. Large corporations are getting involved in the gig economy as well; according to Upwork’s data, more than 30% of Fortune 500 companies are using this platform to find talent. This is especially true for non-core jobs such as marketing, human resources, procurement, manufacturing, and retail. Major companies that are increasingly turning to freelancers include FedEx, Verizon, and the Bank of America.
10. 73% of Gen Z freelancers have engaged in the gig economy by choice, compared to 66% of baby boomers and only 64% of millennials. Source: (Fountain)
Gen Zers have a more positive attitude towards the gig economy than any previous generation. However, it’s refreshing to see that most millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers also think the gig economy can be a good thing. Boomers are not retiring necessarily but moving towards the alternative working relationship. This creates opportunity for employers with knowledge not walking out the door.
11. The total freelancing income is almost $1 trillion. Source: Upwork
Freelancing contributes to 4.8% of US Gross Domestic Product.
I think you will agree the Gig economy is not something to be taken lightly, but organizations need to move towards an outside the box approach and examine blended workforce solutions. Some experts agree that depending on the size of your organization you should review a blend of 10 to 18% of your workforce as contingent, contractor, and gig.