To give you a better understanding of the gig economy, we’ve compiled all the essential gig economy statistics on the industry, the people who make it up, and how they earn.
People are looking beyond their 9 to 5 jobs to the gig economy, whether they are trying to earn extra money on the weekends or become full-time independent workers. Individuals can take control of their own income and work on their own terms in the gig economy.
Gig work provides short-term flexible jobs. Gig job opportunities are easy to find thanks to technology. It is easier to fit work into any lifestyle with gig jobs.
Key Gig Economy Statistics
It is important to define what the gig economy is. The term gig economy is used to describe the growing trend of people engaging in short-term, independent work arrangements that are oftenfacilitated by digital platforms. The gig economy is a market built on short-term contracts. The gig economy allows workers to have more control over their careers.
Today, the gig economy is fueled by apps and online gig platforms that connect freelancers with work opportunities. Gig jobs include everything from being an English tutor to being a driver. Gig jobs are becoming more and more popular.
Let’s look at the numbers. The data gives an interesting insight into the current situation.
In 2021, there were 58 million independent workers in the United States, a 31% increase from 2016.
Gig work is on the rise. Increased access to digital platforms that facilitate gig work appears to be driving this trend. The number of gig workers in the US increased by 31% between 2016 and 2021, according to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey.
Freelancers make up 36% of the workforce in the United States.
According to Upwork, more than one-third of the US labor market is comprised of people who work on their own. The number is expected to increase as more people embrace the freedom and flexibility of freelancing.
One-fifth of independent workers in the US had international customers in 2018.
It’s easy to take your business overseas thanks to the gig economy. The gig economy has made it possible for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses. 18% of full-time independent workers in the US have clients in other countries, according to MBO Partners. This suggests that the global reach of independent contractors is growing, and that they are increasingly providing services to customers abroad.
16% of Americans say they’ve used a gig website or app to make money.
16% of US adults claim to have made money with an online gig platform, according to a survey. More and more people are turning to gig platforms for supplemental income and this number is expected to increase in the coming years.
We will look at how that breaks down by age, race, income level, and sex later. To understand the general trends, we need to look at the overall data.
88% of gig economy revenue comes from transportation services and asset-sharing platforms.
Research from Mastercard shows that ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft and asset-sharing platforms like Airbnb and Tripadvisor account for 88% of gig economy revenue.
Florida has the highest proportion of gig workers in the United States.
The states with the highest number of employed people were looked at to see what percentage of their workforce does gig work. One in five employees in the United States are participating in gig work.
Here are the 9 states with the most gig workers:
- Florida: 22%
- California: 20%
- Illinois: 18%
- Texas: 18%
- Massachusetts: 16%
- New Jersey: 16%
- New York: 16%
- Ohio: 16%
- Pennsylvania: 16%
The people who make up the gig economy include their demographic, motivation, and habits. New trends and insights are emerging all the time in the gig economy.
30% of 18-29-year-olds have used a gig platform to make money, more than any other age group.
According to Upwork, half of Gen Zers have done gig work in the last year. The majority of the gig economy is made up of young people. The direction of this rapidly growing sector is heavily influenced by their needs and preferences.
Hispanics were most likely to make money on gig platforms. Hispanic Americans were the most successful demographic in terms of making money on gig platforms this year.
1 in 4 lower-income Americans has made money with a gig app or website.
Gig work is affected by income. 25% of lower-income Americans have turned to gig work, compared to 13% of middle-income and 9% of upper-income individuals. Lower-income Americans are more likely to rely on gig work for financial stability.
Men and women participate in the gig economy at around the same level.
18% of men and 18% of women are in the gig economy, according to the survey. Women are more likely to work in the gig economy than men.
The biggest reason people take on gig jobs is to boost their savings.
Gig workers were asked to identify the biggest reasons they took on gig work.
At least half of the respondents said they did it to save more money, cover income gaps, or create their own schedules.
12% of US workers started freelancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The workplace and remote work landscape was changed by the Pandemic. Employers have had to learn how to manage remote teams and employees have had to adapt to working from home. More than a tenth of American workers joined the gig economy. Many workers are now able to take advantage of the flexibility and freedom that comes with working independently because of this shift.
More than 70% of full-time gig workers said that they were better prepared for the uncertainty that comes with a traditional job. As a result, many people are turning to freelancing as a more secure way to make money.
65% of freelancers with a 4-year degree wish they had opted for a 2-year degree instead.
8 in 10 freelancers in Upwork’s survey said their college degrees helped them with their gig work; however, more than half of respondents with a 4-year degree wish they had supplemented a 2-year degree with online training in their field instead.
3 in 4 independent workers say they’re very satisfied with their work situation in 2022.
More than 75% of independent contractors say they’re very satisfied with their jobs, and more than half say the decision to become a freelancer was their own. The majority of independent contractors say their quality of life has improved since they became a freelancer.
Most gig workers spend an average of 10-20 hours on their gigs.
Most gig workers spend up to 20 hours a week on their work. Most gig workers have more than one gig to increase their hours. There is a breakdown of how much time people put into their ventures.
Most gig workers prioritize flexibility over higher pay.
A majority of self-employed workers prefer the flexibility of a gig job over a higher paying job. The majority of these workers reported that they were still able to make enough money to cover their expenses and save for the future. A majority of people don’t like answering to a boss and only 21% would prefer a permanent job. The majority of independent workers are happy with their current working situation and prefer the freedom it provides.
54% of gig workers say they’d like to find a full-time job and keep up their gig as a side hustle.
More than half of Zety’s survey respondents said they plan to find a full-time job in the next year but still carry on with their gigs on the side.
Some people said they would find full-time jobs and quit their jobs altogether, while others said they would keep working. The majority of respondents said they would keep their part-time jobs.
58% of gig workers say independence is the biggest perk of the gig economy.
Most gig workers say independence is the biggest advantage of their career and that the lack of employee benefits is the biggest disadvantage.
The drawbacks and advantages of independent workers were cited in the survey. Lack of job security and benefits were the most common downside of independent work.
Wondering what jobs gig workers do? Gig workers can provide services such as tutoring, web design, and even develop their own businesses.
The construction, recreation, and business services industries have the most gig workers.
The top 10 industries are based on their share of gig workers. The gig economy will continue to grow in the years to come.
|Industry||Share of Gig Workers|
|Transportation and warehousing||24%|
|Professional or technical services||19%|
|Hospitality and food services||19%|
Half of US gig economy workers provide skilled work services.
1 in 2 gig workers do skilled work. As the gig economy continues to grow, this trend is expected to continue. The services include editing, virtual assisting, consulting, and computer programming. The individual needs of each client can be tailored to these services.
Airbnb is the number one gig app based on monthly income.
Airbnb users make the most money of all sharing economy workers, according to a survey. The survey found that the majority of users were between the ages of 25 and 34.
Here are the top nine platforms for gig economy workers based on average monthly income:
- Airbnb: $924/month
- TaskRabbit: $380/month
- Lyft: $377/month
- Uber: $364/month
- Doordash: $229/month
- Etsy: $151/month
- Fiverr: $103/month
- Getaround: $98/month
There is a closer look at how much people make performing gig work. Gig work allows people to choose when and how they work, making it an attractive alternative to traditional employment.
On average, gig workers make an average of $5,120 per month.
Full-time gig workers who consider their gig to be their primary source of income bring home around $5,120 per month. In the same period, the average monthly wage for non-gig workers was $3,311.
Gig workers earn more than traditional employees in some industries. They have the freedom to set their own hours and rates.
44% of freelancers say they make more money with gigs than they would with traditional employment.
A survey by Upwork found that nearly half of the people who work on their own are earning more than they could in a long-term job. Today’s economy is becoming more and more valuable due to the increasing demand for free services.
1 in 5 full-time independent workers earns six figures.
Almost 20% of independents are considered high-income earners, bringing in $100,000 or more per year, according to MBO Partners’ 2022 survey data.
On average, full-time independent workers earn $69,000 per year.
According to MBO, independent professionals make more than the median income for US households. Independent professionals can make a lot of money if they want to maximize their earning potential.
Women earn around 82 cents for every dollar men earn in the gig economy.
There is a gender pay gap in the gig economy. On average, men outearn women. The gender pay gap can be twice as large in certain industries such as finance and tech.
Gig Economy Outlook
What is the outlook for the gig economy?
The number of freelancers in the US is estimated to reach over 90 million by 2028.
According to Statista, there will be 90.1 million workers in the United States in 2028, up from 73.3 million in the previous year. There is a growing trend of independent, remote work in the US labor market.
Nearly half of freelancers consider their gigs to be a long-term career move rather than a short-term opportunity.
Independent jobs can be a long-term source of income and a career move for many people. Many people value the flexibility and independence that comes with an independent job.
42% of independent workers think automation will enhance their jobs by contributing to better work/life balance.
42% of independent workers said that automation would lead to better work/life balance, compared to 36% of traditional workers. Most independent workers see automation as a positive development and expect it to improve their job satisfaction and flexibility.
More than half of independent workers said automation won’t affect their work. As automation technologies are adopted by more businesses, this figure is expected to rise.
80% of big corporations plan to utilize more free agents in the future.
Most major corporations plan to use more contractors and less traditional employees in the future according to a 2020 report. The trend is expected to continue for a long time.
By the end of 2023, over half of the American workforce will have worked as independents.
Over the next five years, MBO estimated that 52% of working Americans will have contributed independent work. Over the next decade, the trend of independent work is expected to grow.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many people are working in the gig economy?
More than one-third of Americans are independent workers who contribute to the gig economy.
Who benefits from a gig economy?
Employers and workers benefit from the gig economy. Flexible working opportunities and freedom for both parties are provided by it. It saves businesses money and provides them with skilled workers, who enjoy flexibility, freedom, and the ability to choose the jobs that appeal to them and work on their own terms. Businesses can reduce overhead costs and access talent from all over the world.
Is the gig economy the future?
The gig economy is here to stay. It is important to consider how the gig economy will affect the future of work. As more people join the independent workforce on a part-time basis and others become full-time gig workers, this segment of the workforce is growing rapidly.
How do you succeed in the gig economy?
You can follow these steps to be more successful in the gig economy:
- Create productive habits and routines
- Connect with other gig workers
- Research and take courses to advance in your field
- Use the right platforms to find work
- Focus on maintaining a healthy work-life balance
What skills are needed for the gig economy?
To succeed in the gig economy, it’s important to have these skills:
- Interpersonal skills
- Willingness to learn
- Time management
- Critical thinking
The Bottom Line
The gig economy is an exciting topic to explore, and it is becoming even more prevalent as people are looking for more flexibility and independence in their careers. The gig economy is becoming more and more attractive to people who want to take control of their own work and income.
There are tons of unique job opportunities in the gig economy, and it fits millions of workers needs. Flexibility, freedom from office life, and the ability to work from home make it an attractive option for many.
It will be interesting to see how gig economy trends and perspectives change as technology advances. As businesses try to keep up with the ever-changing labor market, it is likely that the gig economy will become more prominent.
- The State of Gig Work in 2021, Pew Research Center
- American Opportunity Survey, McKinsey
- The Global Gig Economy, Mastercard
- Freelance Forward Economist Report, Upwork
- The State of Independence in America, MBO Partners
- Illuminating the Shadow Workforce, ADP Research
- Gig Economy Stats, Zippia
- Workers on the Gig Economy, Zety
- Number of Gig Economy Workers, Statista
- Sharing Economy Data, Earnest
- Intuit 2020 Report, Intuit