The surge in freelancers and gig work, especially by large gig economy employers such as Uber, Lyft, Turo, and Fiverr, demonstrates this.
We are seeing a massive shift from traditional and full-time employment to freelance work, part-time work, and independent contracts – often referred to as the gig economy.
So how do we explain the gig economy? Generally speaking, the gig economy is when companies try to work with self-made contractors and freelancers instead of hiring full-time employees. It is a free market system.
The “gig” refers to the dominant labor model in this economy, where workers get hired and paid per job or project.
This economic rise goes hand in hand with technological advancements, and the tendency to work remotely as so-called digital nomads has given freelancers and clients more flexibility.
In this article, you’ll get to know the latest 30+ noteworthy gig economy statistics that will help you learn more about this booming industry. Let’s dive right in!
General Gig Economy Statistics
Here are our 30+ Noteworthy Gig Economy Statistics:
1. 40% of US-based workers derive most of their income from the gig economy
According to the latest Gig Economy Index data, about 40% of U.S. worker gets 40% of their income from freelance work.
This shows that people are financially dependent on the gig economy as many are forced to take gigs in addition to their regular jobs to make a living.
Many people earn extra income by driving Uber or working for other top gig economy companies.
2. Before COVID-19, independent workers in the United States spent more than 1 billion hours a week freelancing
As per the freelancer industry report provided by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, employee monitoring data reveals that freelancers spent a total of 1.07 billion freelance hours a week before the pandemic.
3. The gig economy is growing three times faster than the entire U.S. workforce
Self-made workers are growing faster than the total U.S. working population, as per Upwork stats, pointing to a bright future for the gig economy.
Additionally, self-employed people are better furnished to weather the coronavirus storm than non-freelancers.
4. Freelancer-owned microbusinesses generated $2.4 trillion, In 2013
Freelance worker statistics reported that the Association for Enterprise chance shows how much freelance-owned businesses contribute to the U.S economy.
In 2013, freelancer-owned microenterprises generated $2.4 trillion, accounting for 17% of the US GDP at that time.
5. Those who work voluntarily in the private sector are the happiest group in the workforce
A study by McKinsey looked at satisfaction levels among different employee groups on some parameters, including whether they were normal workers or self-made workers and whether this was voluntary or necessary.
Among all demographics studied, self-employed people who voluntarily switched to the gig economy were the most convinced with their working conditions.
6. Average hourly wages for freelancers around the world range from $10 to $28
According to Payoneer’s 2020 Earnings Survey, hourly wages for freelancers in the hottest bracket range from $10 to $28, with the median freelancer earning $21.
In both cases, this average is well above the national average for the respondent’s home country. These freelancer rates help explain why people start freelancing or move fully into the gig economy.
7. To be their boss, 66% of full-time freelancers run their own business
Some of the main reasons for freelancing are the chances to work remotely, time flexibility, extra money, and independence.
Many freelancers want to be their bosses. Indeed, 66% of full-time freelancers and 61% of part-time freelancers are part of the gig economy.
8. Online marketplaces and gig economy websites are helpful for Over 70% of freelancers in finding work
The internet has played a great role in the advancement of the freelance and gig industries. Payoneer’s Freelance Income Report states that over 70% of freelancers find projects through gig websites. Some of the largest sites offering gig work are Upwork (over 15 million users), Fiverr, and Toptal.
9. Facebook is being used by 34% of freelancers for self-promotion.
As per Payoneer’s gig economy stats, more than 34%of freelancers in the United States use Facebook to advertise their work. These numbers are similar to the report of 2018.
10. Between 2008 and 2015, The number of freelancers increased by 24%.
As per the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, the number of freelancers in the European Union has increased by 24%, from 7.7 million to 9.6 million between 2008 and 2015.
11. About 36% of workers in the U.S. are part of the gig economy through full-time or part-time jobs
In 2017, there were as many as 55 million gig workers in the U.S., according to Bureau of Labor statistics.
The latest and most reliable data came from Gallup’s research on the gig economy and alternative arrangements.
The study found that 36% of all U.S workers (57.3 million) were self-employed before the global health crisis hit.
12. 52% of Global gig economy workers lost their jobs
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 52% of Global gig economy workers lost their jobs due to the recession. On the other hand, 26% had to be content with working short hours.
13. The number of freelancers continued to grow until the COVID-19 pandemic hit
Based on information released by Wonolo, in 2017, the total number of freelancers in the U.S increased by 4.2% compared with 2015, which was 1.3%.
However, MBO his partner’s report showed several full-time and part-time gigs. Consumers as the main customers, which fell by 34% at the start of the global health crisis in 2020.
(Wonolo, MBO Partners)
14. 51% of freelancers would return to their traditional jobs without money
Upwork survey, granted, “America’s Freelancing,” found that 51% of freelancers are so positive about their future that they won’t go back to traditional work, no matter how much it offers.
15. 11 Millennials are driving the growth of freelance work, accounting for 33% of all freelancers
Between 2011 and 2020, millennials grew from just 12% of the self-employed workforce to 33%.
An additional 26% of freelance jobs in the U.S are settled by baby boomers, and Generation X makes up 25% of independent workers.
Generation Z makes up just 16% of the total, but as the newest generation to enter the workforce, they are expected to establish themselves as the most enterprising generation ever.
(MBO Partners) (MBO Partners)
16. 64% of traditional professionals want to be self-employed
In the research on independent work, Mckinsey found that a significant number of traditional workers in the United States and five other countries would like to become self-employed breadwinners.
Meanwhile, Upwork reports that 64% of his freelancers say top professionals in their industry are increasingly moving to self-employment. The data highlights the growing popularity of freelance work.
17. The number of firms doing gig work increased by only 554 between 2014 and 2018
Only 26 digital companies depended solely on gig work in 2014. However, in recent years, that number has increased to about 170 agencies. Over 30% of their Fortune 500 companies report using freelancers.
18. In 2020, the contribution of US freelancers to the economy was $1.21 Trillion
The MBO’s State of Independence report notes that the income of the self-employed, including full-time and part-time, was about 5.7% of the US GDP last year.
This is also thanks to development in technology and connectivity that enable freelancers to reach markets worldwide.
19. 78% of gig workers say they are more joyful than those in traditional jobs
McKinsey Gig Economy research also shows that 78% of freelancers feel happier and more satisfied than their full-time colleagues, while 68% feel healthier.
When it comes to income security and social security, freelancers are as just as happy as traditional employees.
20. One in six traditional professionals wants to be self-employed
In independent work research, Mckinsey found that a significant number of traditional workers in the United States and five other countries would like to become self-employed breadwinners.
Upwork reports that 64% of freelancers said professionals at the forefront of their industry are increasingly moving to self-employment.
This data only highlights the growing popularity of freelance work.
21. 84% of gig workers feel their work gives them meaning
Overall, gig workers have an optimistic outlook on their jobs and futures. Around 84% of gig workers feel that their work gives them meaning and a sense of fulfillment, while 94% believe their work makes a valuable contribution to the world.
22. The average salary for a gig worker is just $29,050
The average salary of a gig worker is 20% less than a taxpayer. A taxpayer in the U.S has an average salary of $35,977, whereas a gig worker gets only $29,050, which is a huge gap.
However, salaries may vary among gig workers depending on their skills and experience. The bottom 75% of workers earn far less than the top 10%.
23. Women in the gig economy earn 10.5% less than men
Men in the gig economy earn an average of 82 cents for a dollar, while women earn 10.5% less than men.
This signifies that the gig economy is still suffering from the same issues of gender dissimilarity as traditional labor markets.
24. 53% of teens in the U.S use a phone to look for a job
Research conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis indicates that individuals between 18 and 29 are 53% more likely to apply for a phone to discover a job. For U.S adults as a whole, that discern is 28%.
(Federal Reserve Bank St. Louis)
25. 86% of freelancers believe the industry has a bright future instead of the health crisis.
According to Upwork’s comprehensive Freelancing in America survey, 86% of all self-dependent workers in America believe the gig economy will get better over time. The same opinion is shared by 90% of new freelancers.
26. 41% of graduates in the U.S are self-employed
As per Upwork’s survey of gig economy trends, 41% of the college graduates in the U.S are self-employed and working independently.
The statistics from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 41% of employers prefer hiring college-educated freelancers for the jobs previously held by those with high-school degrees.
27. By 2025, Millennials will create 75% of the global workforce
Millennials will make up a large portion of the global workforce in the next few years.
Given that young people are freelancing more than any other generation, this could indicate a further boost to the gig economy as a whole.
28. Among the surveyed 15 industries, only 5 have more than 40%, gig workers
This seems to specify that the spread of gig work is not evenly distributed.
Some industries depend on freelancers for the majority of their work, while others use very few freelancers. However, this discrepancy may change in the years to come.
29. Freelancers are hired by 48% of companies
This is not surprising, as 90% of agencies believe that a mixed model of gig work and work from home is important to their future competitive advantage.
More than 48% of companies hire freelancers to reduce their workload and cut costs.
30. The number of gig workers who approached retirement plans is Only 16%
This is far from the 52% of traditional employees, as only 16% approached retirement plans. Additionally, 38% of gig workers say they are not earning enough to save for retirement.
31. 74% of female gig workers enjoy independent work than their male counterparts
Freelancing statistics show that female gig workers are more likely to enjoy independent work than males, which makes them better freelancers.
74% of female freelancers like working remotely due to the easy work environment, flexible working hours, attractive salaries, and a great work-life balance. On the other hand, only 59% of men enjoy working as gig workers.
32. 3 in 10 freelancers in the US apply for financial assistance
Despite having an already settled remote lifestyle, 30% of US freelancers said that the chance to get financial support during the pandemic was very beneficial for their business.
33. During the pandemic, about 12% of the U.S. workforce took up freelance work
Undoubtedly, the gig economy is here to stay and will take hold. During the COVID-19 outbreak, 12% of the workforce in the U.S had to pause in certain areas, while others were given a chance to work independently.
The most demanded skills include tech and automation experts, digital customer experience, and virtual assistants.
The most common reasons for starting freelance work are financial stability, flexibility, and independence.
Shefali Jain is a Content Editor & Writer at National Planning Cycles.
After completing her graduation in hospitality, Shefali decided to follow her passion and started writing. Shefali has been writing for two years now and contributes to our website as a skilled editor and content writer with strong research skills. Writing product and service reviews, biographies, and book reviews are some of her key areas, among many others in which she specializes.