The Attractive Gig Economy Continues to Rise In Spite of Riskiness

According to research newly compiled by ReportLinker, what has become known as the “gig economy” is slowly but surely becoming more and more attractive to traditional workers. In this new survey, 76% of American professionals declared being convinced that freelancers are happier than traditional workers.

This feeling of happiness is much more shared than it was in the 2017 version of the research (+11 pts), which shows that this alternative working life may be more and more attractive.

There are several reasons why someone might want to leave the security and stability of traditional employment to become immersed in the risk of the gig economy. One major reason is that the self-employed get to set their own prices (that is, their own “salary”) within reason, and what they might earn could be substantially higher than what an employer is willing, or able to pay them.

Besides aiming for higher pay, there were plenty of other attractive qualities that respondents found in the gig economy.

Top reasons for being a freelance worker are still the same compared to 2017: being one’s’ own boss (27% of mentions), having flexible working hours (21% of mentions) and having a better balance between work and personal life (15% of mentions) are motivating workers to have a freelance job.

On the other side, aspects such as the lack of financial security (23% of mentions), or job security (21% of mentions) are part of what drive freelance workers back. Saving for one’s retirement is also worrying for them (23% of mentions).

Becoming a freelancer during one’s professional career is an idea that slowly makes its path in traditional workers’ mind. Even though 68% of American professionals are unlikely to change their working life to a freelance one, they are less often “very unlikely” than they were a year ago (49% in 2019 compared to 59% in 2017).

Besides, a third of traditional workers (32%) think of the possibility of jumping into a freelance career one day, and 76% of them are ready to do it within the next 5 years.

These numbers are slightly higher than the ones compiled in the 2017 version of this research by ReportLinker when 26% of US respondents said they would consider leaving the traditional workplace to work as a freelancer or independent contractor, and an additional 32% say they would be willing to take the risky leap within the next five years.

How much of the modern day workforce is part of the gig economy? According to substantial research more than 25% of workers today participate either part-time or full-time in the gig economy, with more than 10% relying on it for their sole or primary income. The Internet has made it possible for more than 1% of modern workers to connect with gig opportunities via online platforms. According to the Internet Association of the US, there are now nearly 24 million online platform accounts active.