A list of the most impactful facts and figures were compiled to simplify what the gig economy stands for and how it’s a valuable option to explore—both for those seeking jobs and organizations and companies.
Read on if you want to know more about the gig economy or are curious.
Top Gig Economy Trends and Stats | Editor’s Choice
- Around 36% (57.3 million) of the workforce was in the pre-pandemic gig economy.
- 79% of freelancers are happier working independently than at traditional work.
- 37% of full-time independent workers are aged 21-38.
- About 73.3 million freelancers will work in the USA by 2023.
- Over 50% of the US workforce is likely to participate in the gig economy by 2027
- 70% of freelancers cite a better work-life balance as the reason they choose the gig economy.
- Freelancers charge an average of $21 per hour.
- The global gig economy generates $204 billion and is expected to grow by 17% by 2023
What Is the Gig Economy?
The gig economy is a flexible employment system based on temporary positions and short-term arrangements between an organization and an individual.
There are plenty of ways people can be a part of it—as freelancers, individual contractors, and part-time workers.
This system works well for both parties; employers can choose from a broader international talent pool and find the perfect person for a single project. On the other hand, workers also get to choose the projects they’re interested in and companies that fit their idea of a satisfying working arrangement.
Gig Economy Growth 2023
Even before the pandemic-induced rise in the search for untraditional working arrangements, many people were drawn to more versatile jobs—the figures clearly show the growing interest.
1. 64% of full-time workers want to switch to gig jobs to make extra money
Gig economy statistics show that 64% of employees said they would leave their current full-time position for a gig.
About 49% would stay in their jobs if offered a higher salary. Only 29% mentioned more benefits, while 27% wanted more flexibility in scheduling.
Conversely, 48% of gig workers would leave their jobs for better pay, and 33% would do the same for a more flexible schedule.
2. There are 73.3 million freelancers in the United States as of 2023.
The latest available statistics in 2023 show that the largest digital corporations in the United States have an active gig economy. Some of these companies include Toptal, InVision, AnswerConnect, and Automatic. More than 30% of Fortune 500 companies use this network to find talent.
Other significant companies switching to freelancers gradually include the Bank of America, Verizon, and FedEx. Statistics projects that by 2028, there will be over 90 million US freelancers.
3. Around 36% of the workforce was involved in the pre-pandemic gig economy.
The number of freelancers in the US is around 57 million. These are Americans who work in the gig industry as a primary source of income or as a side project to their full-time jobs.
Most gig hires spend between 11 to 30 hours a week working on their projects.
4. The gig economy was projected to grow three times faster than the U.S. workforce.
(Team Stage & Symmetrical)
Gig economy facts show that about 47% of working millennials now say they are freelancers in some capacity. This shows the popularity of the gig economy will grow in the coming years.
Several freelance statistics suggest that 44% of freelancers said their businesses are their only income source. This percentage has increased from about 17% in 2014, again showing this industry's growth. These figures show that people prefer mobility and the freedom to choose their projects.
5. Over 56% of full-time gig workers felt more financially secure than those with traditional jobs in 2022.
Financial security is one of the deciding factors in many scenarios. Gig economy statistics show that over half of the freelancers feel more secure in their finances than they would if they were doing more traditional jobs. More than half of US freelancers (56%) agree the leading reason for taking work on a gig platform is to save up extra money.
This could be because they can choose between work projects and determine their rates.
6. There are 1.57 billion freelancers in the world as of 2023.
The number of workers leaving their full-time jobs for gig jobs is steadily increasing, especially after the pandemic, as employees saw the positive sides of freelancing. Approximately 1.57 billion people are self-employed around the globe, accounting for nearly half (46.4%) of the global workforce.
7. In 2023, the global gig economy is expected to cross the $455 billion mark.
The global gig economy is expanding significantly, judging from its enormous revenue increase. It is expected to generate more than and surpass the $455 billion revenue estimate.
The global gig economy generates $204 billion and is expected to grow by 17% by 2023 and is projected to reach $500 billion in gross volume in the next five years.
8. Florida has the highest number of gig workers in the U.S. as of 2023.
ADP research study on the number of full-time employees to ascertain the population of self-employed people who do gig jobs across the states in 2023 came up with these figures:
- Florida: 22%
- California: 20%
- Illinois: 18%
- Texas: 18%
- Massachusetts: 16%
- New Jersey: 16%
- New York: 16%
- Ohio: 16%
- Pennsylvania: 16%
9. Gen Zers are the generation most likely to freelance in 2023.
Almost all US Gen Zers (18 to 22-year-olds) work as freelancers, with the number of other generations steadily dropping off with each older generation and sitting at 26% for baby boomers (55+ years old). 25–34 is the most prominent age group for independent workers.
- Gen Z (18-22 yrs) 50%
- Millennial (23-38 yrs) 44%
- Gen X (39-54 yrs) 30%
- Baby Boomers (55+ yrs) 36%
10. The gig economy accounts for a third of the world’s working population as of 2023.
(Gitnux & Techjury)
The gig economy size 2023 shows that about 1.57 billion people worldwide are freelancers, almost 47% of the global workforce, and currently accounts for a third of the world’s working population and is projected to reach $500 billion in gross volume in the next five years.
This projection comes from the 17.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2018 to 2023. In other words, the gig economy is expected to expand by 123% in these five years.
11. Most gig workers spent an average of 10-20 hours on their gigs in 2022.
According to a study by Zety, most gig workers spend 10-20 hours per week on their gigs. Below is a breakdown of how much time gig workers commit to their jobs
- 38% 10 to 20 hours
- 32% 20 to 30 hours
- 16% 30 to 40 hours
- 11% Maximum of 10 hours
- 3% 40+ hours
Gig Economy Stats—Workers’ Opinions
It’s true that many gig workers have another full-time job and do gigs for additional income. However, many people want to transition to doing it full-time instead of holding on to their traditional jobs. Let’s hear what the workers have to say.
12. Around 85% of all gig workers reportedly earn less than $500 monthly.
The average gig pay for almost half of Airbnb hosts is more than $500 monthly. They also make nearly three times more than any other gig worker.
Interestingly, Lyft and Uber's drivers have the same average income; however, those who work on both platforms earn more from Uber gigs.
13. 70% of freelancers cite a better work-life balance as the reason they choose the gig economy as of 2023.
(Symmetrical & Zippia)
According to freelancers, the ability to have a suitable work-life balance is the main reason for choosing the gig economy. These gig economy stats show that 84% of freelancers live their preferred lifestyle compared to 54% of employees working in a traditional job. About 70% of freelancers claim that they choose to work in a gig economy for an improved work-life balance.
Other factors include but are not limited to better productivity, avoiding distractions, health, and family concerns.
14. 93% of gig workers with a college degree agree that relevant skill training is vital to their work.
Freelancers typically put greater emphasis on skills training. About 93% of freelancers with college degrees say work training is most beneficial. In reality, only 70% of gig workers participated in training compared to 49% of non-freelance full-time workers.
Gig economy statistics also show that only 79% of respondents believe their higher education was helpful in their current work.
15. 47% of gig workers fear not having a predictable income.
Most freelancers worry about not having a stable income. This is because gig job offers and pay vary, making it difficult to say your monthly income.
Freelance statistics show that 28% of gig workers also cite retirement planning as the most significant challenge, while 26% worry about setting workplace boundaries. Lack of job security is the biggest concern for 30% of full-time independent workers.
16. About 82% of gig workers are happier working independently.
One major perk of working in the gig economy is the joy of being independent and working on your terms. About 82% of gig workers attest to this and admit that they are happier, while 69% said that it positively influences their health as they are more relaxed doing gig jobs than working in traditional office settings.
Moreover, 53% say they feel more secure working independently than in a traditional job, according to gig economy research.
How Important Is Technology To Gig Economy Workers in 2023?
This should be clear from the start. There is hardly any job searching process related to traditional employment or gigs that don’t involve technology today.
17. 53% of those between 18-29 in the US use the help of their smartphones to get a job.
This statistic has a direct effect on the gig economy. This is because most gig economy jobs can be done from home.
So, the increased use of mobile phones by young adults will lead to more freelancers. Of the entire population of adults in the U.S., only 28% use their smartphones to get jobs.
18. About three out of four gig workers say technology makes their work easier to find.
Freelance workforce statistics show that 75% of freelancers believe platforms like Upwork and Fiverr have made their work life more manageable. Not only can they choose projects on their own, but they can also showcase their previous ones.
19. Over 70% of gig workers work from freelance websites.
It’s hardly a surprise that the global gig economy is mainly internet-based. Reports from Payoneer Income Report show that more than 70% of gig workers find work on platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal.
20. In 2022, about 30% of Fortune 100 companies used freelance Upwork talent.
Most tech and media companies have increased their demand for freelancers from freelance sites, especially Upwork. They mostly employ independent workers, and these freelancers usually become permanent workers after some months based on their performance.
Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Toptal are on the top lists of the sites they source workers from, with Upwork having over 16 million freelancers as of 2022.
Global Gig Economy Statistics
Going beyond the US—the biggest gig economy market in the world—an upward trend is apparent almost everywhere.
21. As of January 2023, freelancers' average hourly rate is $21.
According to the income survey highlights carried out by Payoneer, freelancers charge an average hourly pay of $21, which is higher than the average rate of $19 in 2021
This is one of the reasons why people start freelancing or switch entirely to gig economy.
22. In developing countries, the use of gig platforms has increased by over 30%.
These figures are helpful for employers that are searching for freelancers.
However, countries with developed economies report only about 1–4% of gig workers' gig working platforms.
23. Gig economy statistics indicate India emerged as the second largest gig economy market in 2022.
(Symmetrical & BWDisrupt)
Coming after the U.S. as the country with the highest gig market is India constituting about 40% of total freelance jobs offered worldwide
At the moment, the country counts over 15 million gig workers working on projects in IT, HR, and design. It gets even more interesting—some reporting projects this number to double by the end of the year. The workforce is growing by 4 million people annually.
24. The gig economy in the United Kingdom is estimated at 7.25 million as of March 2023.
The United Kingdom is also at the forefront of the gig economy. With a gig workforce of about 7.25 million people as of March 2023, according to the latest gig economy statistics, contract-based jobs in the UK are almost certain to grow above those figures in 2024.
25. Almost half (48%) of gig workers in the UK also have full-time jobs.
Gig economy statistics show that 1 out of every 6 adults in the UK works a gig at least once a week. Over 89% of UK gig workers confessed that they opt for gig jobs to make extra money due to the high cost of living. This decision favored them as about 71.5% of their gig work makes up less than half of their income.
Over half (55%) of gig workers perform tasks at least once a month, while 12% deliver 2-3 times a week, and 9% deliver gigs daily.
Rise of the Gig Economy—What the Future Holds
Despite the adverse effects of COVID-19, as with any other form of employment, the gig economy isn't going away. However, the consequences are short-term, and the gig economy will likely continue the pre-pandemic growth trend.
26. The gig economy is expected to reach a worth of $455.2 billion in the US in 2023.
The projected gig economy size—in terms of gross volume—for 2021 is $347.1 billion.
While the forecast figures aren’t likely to be met soon, the gig economy will likely return to its projected trends sooner than any other form of employment once the pandemic is over; these numbers can still give us some sense of the upcoming situation.
27. By 2027, 60% of the US workforce will be independent
This data is according to gig economy statistics 2023 on the future of gig employment. Several gig economy articles show that over 80% of major US-based companies would significantly increase their use of non-traditional jobs in the coming years. By 2027, companies will be spending $6 billion on improving gig workers' rights, as gig workers are expected to become the majority of the US workforce and surpass traditional jobs.
28. 40% of companies see gig workers taking a more significant part of their workforce in the coming years.
Gig economy trends show that more businesses will be open to the idea of gig workers in the coming years. While this development is a significant advantage to gig workers, it can be risky for workers with a limited or defined skill set.
Especially those in developing countries.
29. Gig workers in artificial intelligence earn an average of $115.06 per hour.
(The Balance Small Business)
These freelance workforce statistics place artificial intelligence as the highest-earning industry for gig workers. Other sectors on the list include blockchain architecture which earns about $87.05 for every hour, and robotics earning $77.46 for every hour.
The others on the list are cryptocurrencies, Lambda coding for Amazon Web services, and virtual reality at $65.37, $51, and $50.18 per hour, respectively.
30. There will be 86.5 million freelancers in the US. by 2027
Currently, there are 73.3 million freelancers in the US as of 2023, and 76.4 million are expected in 2024.
If this estimate proves accurate, half of the US’ employed population will be freelancing soon. This statistic shows the number of freelancers in the US is projected to reach 86.5 million in 2027, making up 50.9% of the total U.S. workforce.
Gig Economy Statistics | The Takeaway
There is a significantly reduced skepticism toward gig jobs. Enormous enterprises, such as Lyft, Uber, and Airbnb taking over the market from traditionally organized companies.
The entire arrangement can be highly beneficial to both parties. Companies can find an adequate candidate for each of their projects more quickly. On the other hand, gig workers get to pick the work environment and projects they are best suited for and be in charge of their schedule.
The gig economy will likely compellingly influence the workforce landscape.