20 Gig Economy Statistics Worth Your Attention in 2021

The latest gig economy statistics show a new reality — working part-time and having short-term contracts is becoming more desirable than having a permanent job.

The gig economy may sound like a new trend, but it’s not. However, it has dramatically grown in recent times, and we’ve got some data to confirm that. 

Top 10 Gig Economy Statistics

  • 53.8% of the total number of freelancers are male.
  • The total market size of the gig economy is $1.5 trillion.
  • Freelance statistics show that baby boomers earn the most — $43,600.
  • The UK has over two million freelancers at its disposal.
  • Over the years, Scotland has seen a freelance increase of 24%.
  • The number of freelancers in the world is 1.1 billion.
  • Gig workers in the US earn 58% as much as traditional workers.
  • There might be 86.5 million freelancers in the US by 2027.
  • In 2019, the number of freelancers in the US was about 57 million.
  • Nine out of ten people opt for gig work.

General Freelancer Statistics

There are various types of gig workers who, depending on their age, also earn differently. Some of them are fairly up-and-coming, while others have been around for a long time.

1. The gig economy market covers different types of gig workers. 

(Oberlo) 

The gig economy is a digital space where people can earn money from short-term jobs, tasks, projects, and different types of assignments.

The most important of all gig economy facts is that those who engage in this kind of money-making business are self-employed, independent, and often working for more than one client.

There are many different types of such workers, and freelancers are only one group.

There are also consultants, independent contractors, temps (temporary independent contract workers), and seasonal workers, all of which count as gig workers.

2.  Freelance statistics show that Baby Boomers earn the most — $43,600.

(FinancesOnline, Prudential)

In the US, 63,6% of freelancers are younger than 34. What’s more, 39% are under the age of 24. Finally, 20.9% of the freelancers are over 45. 

As gig workers age, their income rises as well as per gig economy trends. Millennials’ (aged 18–35) average income is $27,500 annually.

Gen Xers (aged 36–55) earn an average income of $36,300, and Baby Boomers (aged over 55) earn the most — $43,600. 

These gig economy stats show that Millennials have the lowest income, which is one of the reasons why they are often referred to as “the brokest generation”. 

3. 53.8% of the total number of freelancers are men. 

(FinancesOnline)

Out of the total number of freelancers, men cover 53.8%, whilst women take up 46.3%. 

Remote work statistics reveal that men seem to be more active in the field of freelancing between the ages of 18 and 34 — yet, as the age rises, women seem to take over. 

Freelancer Statistics for Europe

Freelancing is widespread in Europe, and the last few years have been a real turning point. Although some work full-time and others part-time, they all have one thing in common — they love what they are doing. 

4.  The number of freelancers in Europe is close to 11 million. 

(Malt, DDIY)

From 2014 to 2019, Europe had a 45% increase in freelancers. 

Freelancers are the fastest-growing component of the EU market, which includes about 11 million Europeans — and two million of them are in the UK. 

5. In Europe, freelancers prefer living in larger cities.

(Malt)

When talking about their preferred place of living, freelancer statistics reveal that 67.8% of them live in larger cities, 17.6% in mid-sized ones, 7.4% in smaller cities, and 7.1% live in the countryside. 

This goes to show that while some enjoy the peacefulness of smaller places, most freelancers prefer living in more modern environments. 

6. In France, 84% of freelancers work full-time.

(Malt)

There are some captivating differences between European countries. 

In France, 84% of freelancers work full-time. In Spain, 71% work full-time, and in Croatia — only 66%. There, freelancing is often a way to earn some extra money. 

Freelance Statistics for the UK 

British people enjoy freelancing, and the ever-increasing numbers prove that. Most of them are engaged in the business support sector, but, of course,  there are many other freelancing sectors. 

7. The UK has over two million freelancers at its disposal.

(IPSE)

Currently, there are more than two million freelancers in the UK according to freelance workforce statistics.

As it turns out, 1.9 million of them named freelancing as their main occupation, while the remaining freelancers use the gig industry as an additional source of income. 

8. Over the years, Scotland has seen a freelance increase of 24%. 

(IPSE)

Gig economy statistics point that freelance work is not prevailing everywhere at the same intensity. 

Most of the freelance population is in London and the South East of England. 

Be that as it may, there is also a 24% upturn in the number of freelancers in Scotland since 2018, and a 19% upturn in the North East of England since 2018. 

9. Business support is one of the most popular freelance sectors in the UK. 

(Micro Biz Mag) 

Other than the business support sector, which is the chosen sector for 22% of freelancers, there are also design (20%), and writing and translation (17%), according to the latest gig economy job statistics.

The list continues with sales and marketing (13%), video, photo and audio (9%), website development (9%), software development and mobile (6%), and social media (4%). 

Freelance Market Size Statistics

The world is witnessing an impressive rise of contractors and freelancers, as well as the growth of the market size. And the best part about it — it doesn’t stop here. 

10. The number of freelancers in the world is 1.1 billion.

(DDIY

The global workforce consists of about 3.5 billion workers, and approximately 1.1 billion of them belong to the freelance workforce

However, considering all the benefits of freelancing, which will be listed later in this article, this number is most likely going to continue rising in the future.

11. The total market size of the gig economy is $1.5 trillion. 

(Medium, StartUps Anonymous) 

Believe it or not, the freelance market size is $1.5 trillion, with North America taking credit for more than half of the freelancers worldwide. 

That might come as a bit less of a shock after you take into consideration that there are nearly 170 gig economy businesses in the US. 

12. According to some gig economy income statistics, gig workers in the US earn 58% as much as traditional workers.

(Prudential, StartUps Anonymous, DDIY)

Full-time employees have an average annual income of $62,500, and independent freelancers on the other hand have only $36,500.

That’s because gig workers usually work shorter and fewer hours than traditional workers. 

For 44% of people who work in the gig economy, that’s their primary source of income, and those are mostly people aged 18–34 according to working remotely statistics.

As for the paycheck, 48% of gig workers get a fixed salary, 29% are paid by the hour, and 23% experience a combination of both. 

13. Research shows that there might be 86.5 million freelancers in the US by 2027. 

(Zety, StartUps Anonymous)

Freelancing statistics prove the freelance market is growing three times faster than the total US working population, with 36% of US adults taking part in some gig work. This reveals a promising future for the gig market.

When it comes to the future, you can know for certain that it will be a favorable one. It’s estimated that, by 2027, 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the US. 

As for India and Mexico, 97% of people are interested in freelance, temporary, and contract work. 

Global Gig Economy Statistics

With the terrifying pandemic that came upon us and the rapid advancements in technology, gig work is growing in popularity more than ever. The last decade has made it clear. 

14. Gig economy statistics for 2021 reveal nine out of ten people opt for gig work.

(TechRepublic)

In December 2020, Monster conducted new research. The results show that 92% of people are thinking of starting gig work. That means nine out of ten people are likely to start looking for nontraditional work this year. 

15. Freelance statistics regarding 2020 suggest COVID-19 has reinforced the gig economy.

(TechRepublic, Forbes) 

The gig economy in 2020 grew considerably. Freelance work has become even more attractive to people, especially since COVID-19 made the whole global economy lose stability. 

In order to lower their costs, around 66% of big companies used freelance contracts. Smaller companies are certainly going to follow their example. 

According to Monster, PTO was mostly unused in 2020 — 46% of workers weren’t able to use it. 16% chose not to use it, and 15% were afraid of falling behind at work. 

16. In 2019, the number of freelancers in the US was about 57 million. 

(DDIY, StartUps Anonymous)

This number equals about 35% of all workers in the country. In Europe, gig economy statistics for 2019 point toward a 45% increase in freelancers when compared to 2014. 

Freelance Statistics: Pros and Cons

Everything has its pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide what your priorities are. Only by doing so can you know for sure whether freelance work is the right path for you. 

17. Gig workers enjoy their flexibility based on surveys and freelance stats

(Medium, Micro Biz Mag) 

Jordan Marshall, IPSE’s policy development manager explains that freelancing enables young people to engage in projects they are really passionate about, whenever and wherever they want. 

Because of this, they are able to travel the world while working online, and freelance market statistics confirm it

This means that not only can people find exceptional job opportunities anywhere in the world, but they can also accept those positions without relocating.

18. You are your own boss. 

(FlexJobs)

It’s time you are in the driver’s seat!

Aside from the above-mentioned flexibility, freelancing employment allows you to choose the clients you want to work with and projects you want to spend your time on, as well as determine your pay rate. 

19. Making some extra money is another reason people decide upon gig work. 

(StartUps Anonymous)

Many people join the gig market in order to make some extra money, though freelance economy statistics reveal that most do it as a primary job. 

Gig work allows you to work for as few or as many hours as you can, which is why the vast majority of the part-time freelancers use the gig economy as an additional income source. 

20. Freelancing also comes with some downsides, such as not having 401(k) benefits. 

(Forbes, StartUps Anonymous)

Freelancers are business owners, so taxes, health insurance, and invoices are their own responsibilities. 

Stats about the gig economy show about a third of the freelancers prefer earning more money and taking care of their own savings and health needs, instead of earning less and their employer covering their benefits. 

However, not having enough retirement savings can really be a problem. Gig workers have no other option than to plan for retirement on their own, since most of them have no 401(k) or pension benefits. 

An intriguing freelance statistic, though, is that even though they don’t have any pension benefits, 83% of full-time freelancers have health insurance. 

FAQ

What is a freelance person? 

Freelancers are people who are basically self-employed, although some of them do contract work for a company. 

Unlike traditional employees, freelancers set their working hours, bill clients, pay their taxes themselves, and organize their work hours according to their own needs.

Freelancing and outsourcing are often mistaken one for another, but there’s a substantial difference between them. Outsourcing includes paying a freelancer to do the job for you, without employment. 

Is the gig economy growing? 

It sure is. Since 2010, the gig economy has gone up by six million people. Businesses seek gig workers more often than ever. 

Also, once Baby Boomers reach retirement, it is very probable that they will expand the gig economy even more if they decide to keep working. 

What percentage of the workforce is freelance?

Roughly 36% of the US workforce are freelancers. Based on some estimations, it is expected that by 2030, the number of the global freelance workforce will reach 80%.

How big is the freelance economy?

Full-time independent workers, or freelancers, contributed $1.28 trillion to the US economy in 2018.

Since the freelance workforce is growing three times faster than the rest of the US economy, we can expect a bright future for freelancers.

Are freelancers happier?

According to ReportLinker, freelancers are happier than traditional workers. Some of the reasons for this are that they work for themselves, have flexible hours, and achieve a better life/work balance.

In fact, 75% of freelancers say they wouldn’t change their freelancing job for a traditional one.

Conclusion

Looking at these gig economy statistics, it’s not really a surprise that so many people are willing to join the gig market. Gig work allows for a more flexible and independent way of working. 

Even though freelancing can’t replace the traditional job economy completely, it’s very likely to keep growing in the future. 

So, the question to ask isn’t if the gig economy will grow in the future, but rather how much.

Sources

Damjana is a writer from Bitola, North Macedonia. After teaching for 8 years, she found a new challenge — writing. With her academic background in English, doing research and writing is always fun and enjoyable for her. In her spare time, she loves binge-watching TV shows, especially crime documentaries, or spending time with her dogs.

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