The Future of Employment - 30 Telling Gig Economy Statistics

ByDamjan Jugovic Spajic
March 17,2022

The latest gig economy statistics tell us that times aren’t just changing - they’ve already changed. Gone are the days of working from nine to five in a cradle-to-grave job. Nowadays, it’s increasingly common to piece together an income from several different sources and work when you want, not when your boss tells you to.

The proliferation of freelancing and gig work - especially through major gig economy employers such as Uber, Lyft, Turo or Fiverr - shows this. We’re witnessing a massive shift from traditional work and full-time employment to freelancing, working part-time, and independent contracting. This is often referred to as the gig economy.

So, how can we define the gig economy? Broadly speaking, the gig economy is a free-market system in which companies look to work with independent contractors or freelancers as opposed to hiring full-time workers. The ‘gig’ part of the name refers to the dominant model of work in this economy, where workers are employed and paid per job or project.

In this economy, workers have temporary or part-time positions, allowing them to frequently change employers or work for several different businesses at the same time. The rise of this economy is closely connected to advances in technology and the trend of working remotely as so-called digital nomads. This provides even more flexibility for both freelancers and clients.

We’ve compiled some interesting gig economy statistics to paint a better picture of what work looks like nowadays.

Gig Economy Statistics - Editor's Choice

  • About 36% of US workers are part of the gig economy.
  • 12% of the US workforce started taking freelance jobs during the pandemic.
  • 10% of the US workforce was forced to pause freelancing because of the global health crisis.
  • 86% of freelancers think the industry has an even brighter future ahead of it, despite the health crisis.
  • If the gig economy keeps growing at its current rate, more than 50% of the US workforce will participate in it by 2027.
  • In 2018, US independent workers spent a billion hours per week freelancing.
  • 41% of postgraduates freelance.

The Size of the Gig Economy

Roughly 36% of US workers are part of the gig economy, either through their primary or secondary jobs.

(Gallup, Statista)

So, how big is the gig economy in the US? It’s hard to know for sure, especially when people do freelance work in addition to their main job. The variance in how we define gig work doesn’t help, either.

Statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor show there were 55 million US gig workers in 2017. The most recent and reliable data is from a Gallup poll on the gig economy presented in the company’s Gig Economy and Alternative Arrangements study. This study revealed that more than a third of all US workers - around 57.3 million people in total - were employed as independent workers before the global health crisis struck. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 52% of worldwide gig economy workers lost their jobs due to the economic downturn. Meanwhile, 26% had to settle for reduced working hours.

40% of US-based workers generate a large part of their income via the gig economy.


Data from the latest Gig Economy Index shows that around 40% of US workers generate 40% of their income by freelancing. This shows how much people depend on the gig economy financially, with many forced to do gig work in addition to their regular job to make ends meet. Many earn extra income by driving an Uber or working for one of the other top gig economy companies.

The number of freelance workers kept growing until the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

(Wonolo, MBO Partners)

Based on the information published by Wonolo, the total number of freelancers in the US increased by 4.2% in 2017, compared to 1.3% in 2015. However, the MBO Partners’ report revealed the number of full and part-time gig workers with consumers as primary customers decreased by 34% at the start of the global health crisis in 2020.

US independent workers spent more than a billion hours per week freelancing pre-COVID-19.


According to a freelance industry report provided by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, employee monitoring data shows that freelancers spent a total of 1.07 billion hours per week freelancing pre-pandemic.

The gig economy is expanding three times faster than the US workforce as a whole.

(Forbes, Upwork)

Upwork statistics show that the number of independent workers is growing three times faster than the total US working population, which indicates a bright future for the gig economy. Moreover, compared to non-freelancers, independent workers are better equipped to weather the coronavirus storm.

US freelancers contributed $1.21 trillion to the American economy in 2020.

(MBO Partners)

The MBO State of Independence report points out that the revenue generated by both full and part-time independent workers during last year equates to about 5.7% of US GDP. This is partly thanks to advances in technology and connectivity, which enable freelancers to tap into markets across the globe.

In 2013 alone, micro-businesses owned by freelancers generated $2.4 trillion.


Freelance workforce statistics published by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity demonstrate just how much freelancer-owned businesses contribute to the US economy. In 2013, micro-businesses owned by freelancers generated $2.4 trillion dollars, which made up 17% of the USA's GDP at the time.

Recent forecasts put the number of freelancers in the US at 86.5 million by 2027.

(Wonolo, Statista)

According to gig economy facts provided by Wonolo and Statista, more than half of the country’s workforce will be doing some form of freelance work in the coming years if growth trends persist.

Job Security and Satisfaction in the Gig Economy

A growing number of independent workers are increasingly comfortable in the gig economy, with approximately 56% saying they feel more financially secure.

(MBO Partners)

Gig economy statistics from 2020 provided by the MBO’s State of Independence show that more than half of the full-time independent workforce feels more financially secure than they would in traditional jobs. Although financial security is one of the most important factors when it comes to employment, job security and medical coverage are often big concerns for freelancers.

51% of freelancers would not go back to traditional work for any amount of money.


An Upwork study entitled “Freelancing in America” found that more than half of freelance workers are highly optimistic about the future and would not go back to traditional employment, no matter how much money was on offer.

11Millennials are fueling the expansion of independent work and account for 33% of all freelancers.

(MBO Partners)

Between 2011 and 2020, the percentage of millennials making up the independent workforce grew from just 12% to a full third. Another 26% of freelancing jobs in the USA are held by Boomers, while Gen X accounts for 25% of the independent workforce. Gen Z only makes up 16% of the total, but as the newest generation to enter the workforce, it’s expected to establish itself as the most entrepreneurial generation ever.

84% of freelancers are living their preferred lifestyle compared to just 54% of those working in traditional jobs.


It seems most workers now prioritize lifestyle over earnings. Striking the right balance appears to be much easier for freelancers than it is for those working full-time jobs.

78% of gig workers say they’re happier than those working traditional jobs, while 68% say they’re healthier.


McKinsey gig economy research also reveals that freelancers seem to be happier and feel healthier than their full-time counterparts. As far as income security and benefits go, freelancers are as satisfied as traditional workers.

One in six traditional job workers would like to become an independent earner.

(McKinsey, Upwork)

In its Independent Work study, Mckinsey found that a substantial number of traditional job workers in the US and five other countries would like to become primary independent earners. Meanwhile, according to Upwork’s report, 64% of freelancers say that professionals who are at the top of their industry are increasingly switching to working independently. The data only serves to highlight the growing popularity of freelance work.

Those who work in the freelance economy by choice are the most satisfied group within the workforce.


McKinsey’s survey examined satisfaction levels among different workforce groups. The main parameters were whether they were traditional or independent workers and whether this was by choice or necessity. Of all the demographics covered, independent workers who switched to the gig economy by choice were the most satisfied with their working arrangements.

About 59% of male gig workers and 74% of female freelancers say they enjoy working independently because of the flexibility this type of work offers.

(MBO Partners)

Freelance statistics show that the majority of independent workers aim to stay independent. 54% of men and 43% of women earn more money working as freelancers.

The percentage of independent workers who freelance by choice rose from 55% to 67% between 2011 and 2019.

(MBO Partners)

This trend was disrupted in 2020 with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when the percentage of gig economy workers who said they were freelancing by choice fell to 59%. This was the same level recorded in 2016.

The mean freelance hourly rate ranges from $10 to $28 worldwide.


Payoneer’s 2020 Income Survey shows that hourly rates for freelancers fall between $10 and $28 in the most popular fields, with the average income for freelancers being $21. In all cases, this average is significantly higher than the national average in the respondents’ home countries. These freelance rates go some way to explaining why people begin to freelance or switch completely to the gig economy.

66% of full-time freelancers work as independents in order to be their own boss.


Some of the key reasons for freelancing include the ability to work remotely, schedule flexibility, extra money, and independence. Many freelancers also like being their own boss. This is the case with 66% of full-time freelancers who are part of the gig economy as well as 61% of those engaged in part-time freelancing.

The Gig Economy and Tech

More than 70% of freelancers find jobs through online markets and gig economy websites.


The internet has played a huge role in freelancing and the growth of the gig industry. Payoneer’s Freelance Income Report shows that more than 70% of all freelancers find projects through gig websites. Some of the biggest websites that provide gig work are Upwork - which has over 15 million users - as well as Fiverr and Toptal.

Approximately 77% of freelancers say technology makes it easier to find work.


Most freelancers believe that technology, mainly through gig economy platforms such as Upwork, makes finding work much easier.

53% of young adults in the US use a smartphone to search for a job.

(Federal Reserve Bank St. Louis)

Research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows that people aged between 18 and 29 are 53% more likely to use a smartphone to find a job. For US adults as a whole, that figure is 28%.

34% of freelancers use Facebook for self-promotion.


Drawing from Payoneer’s gig economy statistics, we can see that more than a third of freelancers in the US use Facebook to promote their work. These numbers are similar to the ones reported in 2018. It seems that freelancers enjoy being their own bosses and doing their own PR work.

Global Gig Economy Stats

20-30% of the workforce in the US and EU-15 area countries is part of the gig economy.


That’s up to 162 million working-age people across the US and the EU-15 who are involved in some sort of independent work.

The gig economy in the UK doubled in size between 2016 and 2019, accounting for 4.7 million workers.

(The Guardian)

The UK seems to be following in the footsteps of the US in terms of gig economy growth, with Britain’s freelancer economy experiencing a significant expansion in recent years. Millions of workers - or one in 10 working-age adults - were part of the gig economy prior to the pandemic. The most recent disruptions in the labor market are only increasing people’s reliance on freelance work.

The number of freelancers has increased by 24% between 2008 and 2015.


According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, the number of independent workers in the European Union rose by 24% between 2008 and 2015, jumping from 7.7 million to 9.6 million.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Gig Economy 

Nine out of 10 independent workers in the UK say they are worried about the financial impact of the pandemic.


Global economic uncertainty has had a direct impact on the real estate market. Gig economy facts reveal that one in four freelancers who said they are not planning to buy a home in the next five years decided to wait because of concerns over the COVID-19 health crisis.

Approximately 10% of the US workforce was forced to pause freelancing due to the pandemic.


These workers were typically working in industries most impacted by social distancing rules and didn’t have an opportunity to work remotely. About 41% said they were freelancing less than once a month.

About 12% of the US workforce started taking freelance jobs during the pandemic. 


There’s no doubt that the gig economy is here to stay. Although gig workers in certain fields had to pause, others were presented with an opportunity to work independently as a result of the global health crisis. Technology and automation professionals, digital customer experience, and virtual assistants are in high demand. The most frequently stated reasons that these workers give for starting freelance jobs include financial stability during the recession (75%) and necessity (54%).

61% of US workers who freelanced pre- and during the coronavirus pandemic say they have had the amount of work they want or even more.


Independent workers have reported a lower negative impact from COVID-19 on their lifestyle, mental health, financial situation, and overall well-being. Still, given the greater emphasis on remote work and outsourcing, many freelancers had to adjust their business development and networking strategies.

Three in 10 freelancers in the United States have applied for financial support.


Despite having an already established remote lifestyle, 30% of US freelancers said that the opportunity to get financial support during the pandemic was very useful for their business.

The Future of the Gig Economy

86% of freelancers think the industry has a bright future, despite the health crisis.


According to Upwork’s comprehensive Freelancing in America survey, 86% of all independent workers in the US believe the gig economy will only improve as time goes by. That sentiment is shared by 90% of new freelancers.

41% of those with a postgraduate education freelance.


Upwork’s research on gig economy trends shows that those with a postgraduate degree are best represented among freelancers, with 41% of them engaged in independent work.

Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025.


In the coming years, millennials will account for much of the world’s workforce. When we consider that young people freelance more than any other generation, this may signal another boost for the gig economy as a whole.

80% of large US companies plan to increase their reliance on a flexible workforce.


According to the Intuit 2020 report on the future of gig work, more than 80% of large corporations plan to change their recruitment strategies and use more non-traditional workers in the coming years.

Final Thoughts

Is freelancing on the rise? The stats say yes. There are more people doing gig work, both in the US and elsewhere. Companies are increasingly working with freelancers, the gig economy pumps a significant amount of revenue into the US economy, and most freelancers seem happy with the state of the market. As our gig economy statistics show, the coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated the growth of the freelance market. If current trends persist, the gig economy will continue to expand rapidly. Soon, it could even overtake the traditional job market.

Frequently Asked Questions
How big is the US gig economy?

The Bureau of Labor statistics on the gig economy show that there were 55 million workers in this market in 2017. According to the latest and most reliable stats, there are now 57 million gig workers in the US economy, accounting for 36% of all US workers.

Why is the gig economy growing?

There are several reasons the gig economy continues to grow. On one hand, workers, especially younger ones, seem to prefer freelancing over full-time employment because of the flexibility and independence it provides. Non-traditional employment, especially through leading gig economy websites, allows them to choose where, when, and for whom they work. At the same time, companies can benefit from having a flexible workforce; they spend less money on training or recruitment, usually don’t pay for any medical coverage, and can more easily replace their workforce if needed.

Is the gig economy a good thing?

Workers, both young and old, seem to prefer the benefits of being independent. After all, those who work in the gig economy can determine their own working hours, choose which jobs to take, and decide which clients to work for. Companies, too, can enjoy the advantages of this agile labor market. Those that hire independent contractors can change their staff more easily and greatly reduce their recruitment and training costs.


About the author

Damjan won’t tell you how to run your business, but he will try to advise you on how to save your money and avoid financial ruin. As a staff writer at SmallBizGenius, he focuses on finding the most consumer-friendly services available and provides advice to both established and fledgling businesses out there.

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According to some top sellers, they get charged a flat 12% advertising fee that they cannot opt out of. This fee is 15% for other sellers, but that charge is optional.
By Danica Djokic · October 12,2022
Call centers are an inescapable element of running almost every customer-centric business. Regardless of whether you are offering a product or a service or using a call center to market them, you need to provide a line of communication with your customers.  Not all support and call centers actually require a phone line. Call center statistics show that the industry has moved online to a large degree, and many other trends are emerging as companies strive to provide a better customer experience.  Let’s see some of the most important stats about the call center industry in 2022. Call Center Industry Statistics - Key Findings The global market value of call centers is estimated to reach $496 billion by 2027. 87% of employees in call centers report high-stress levels at their job. The contact center software market will be worth $149.58 billion by 2030. Businesses lose approximately $75 billion yearly because of poor customer service. 35% of customers want customer support agents to help them resolve issues in one interaction. General Call Center Operation Statistics Call centers are an essential industry nowadays, especially as many people turn to customer support. After all, the world has made a significant shift toward performing most of its daily life online. So let's check some of the most important stats about this industry. The global market value of call centers is estimated to reach $496 billion by 2027. (Report Linker) Research suggests that the industry's value will keep increasing at a projected CAGR rate of 5.6% between 2020 and 2027. In-house call center solutions have a 5.5% projected growth rate during the same period, while outsourcing will grow by 5.9%. In 2020, US call centers accounted for 29.49% of the global call center market. (Report Linker) The overall global market was valued at $339.4 billion in 2020, with the US share at approximately $100.1 billion in 2020. Other notable markets worldwide were China, Japan, Canada, and Germany, all with strong growth estimates.  Almost a quarter of all call centers in the US made less than $250 million in 2020. (Statista) 24%, to be precise. 13% earned more than $25 billion. 4% made between $15 and $25 billion, while 19% earned anywhere from $5 to $15 billion, and another 19% made between $1 and $5 billion. The contact center software market will be worth $149.58 billion by 2030. (Grand View Research, Inc) According to call center statistics for software, the industry's market size is $28.09 billion in 2022, up from $23.9 billion in 2021. If it continues following the estimated CAGR of 23.2% between 2022 and 2030, it should reach a staggering $149.58 billion by 2030. In 2020, US call center businesses employed 2.83 million people. (Statista) The number of employees in the call center businesses grew steadily from 2014 when 2.51 million people worked in this industry. This trend changed in 2020, though, which saw a drop in the number of employees in the contact center industry compared to 2019’s 2.92 million. Businesses lose approximately $75 billion yearly because of poor customer service. (Forbes)  Based on research in NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 “Serial Switchers” report, Forbes announced in 2018 that many customers were abandoning companies due to poor customer service. Recent research conducted by Salesforce shows that 91% of customers will make another purchase at the same company after a good customer service experience.  In comparison, 70% said they would not buy a product from a company with long wait hours for customer support. If your company is struggling with similar issues, consider investing in call tracking software. Call Center Stats on Customer Satisfaction  Customer support is an essential part of providing a quality service, and companies need to pay close attention to customer satisfaction in this area. The following stats tell us more about customer preferences regarding call centers and support. 77% of customers appreciate proactive customer service. (Zippia) On top of wanting instant support, customers also expect customer representatives and sales reps to anticipate their needs and address them accordingly. Companies that can do that are much more popular with customers. 76% of customers prefer using different support channels depending on context. (Salesforce) According to the call center analysis by Salesforce, email is still the most popular customer support channel, followed by phone and in-person support. Online chat and mobile apps take fourth and fifth place, respectively. 78% of customers don’t like support agents that sound like they are reading from a script. (Zippia) Personalized sales and support communication has been the key for a while now. 52% of customers expect custom-tailored offers at all times, and 66% want the companies “to understand their unique needs and expectations.”  This is no small feat, especially for the largest call center companies serving thousands of customers. Ensuring your company uses good call center software is only half the battle. You’ll still need quality support agents who can convince your customers that their needs are important to your company. 50% of customers believe that the customer service and support from most companies need a major overhaul. (Salesforce) While half of the customers expect better customer support, 60% agree that companies need to improve their trustworthiness, and 55% think companies should work more on their environmental practices. Statistics show that companies focusing on “making the world a better place” always do well. Surprisingly, improving the product was ranked lower, as was using better technology and working on the overall business model. 35% of customers want customer support agents to help them resolve issues in one interaction. (Microsoft’s 2020 Report) Quick problem resolution should be one of the most important call center metrics. Over a third of customers in a Microsoft survey from 2019 said that resolving issues in one interaction should be a priority for the customer support team. 31% claimed that getting a knowledgeable agent is the most important, and 20% said that not having to repeat the same information is crucial. The latter seems like a growing problem, as more than half of customers felt that the departments providing support are not always in sync.  These are definitely the key call center metrics that every company should pay attention to. 92% of consumers hesitate when buying a product if it has no customer reviews. (Fan & Fuel) Worse still, 35% might not buy a product at all after reading just one negative review. According to Zendesk, word of mouth is also extremely powerful: 95% of customers will tell others about a bad experience, and 87% will share good ones.  Unfortunately, another survey shows that 79% of consumers who shared their poor online experience with customer support got ignored. Companies making this mistake should consider hiring a good reputation management service, as it will help improve their sales in the long run. Must-Know Information About Call Center Workers Despite the push toward automatization, live agents are still the pillars of any good customer support team. Here are some stats about the call center workforce. There were approximately 286,696 call center agents employed in the US in 2021. (Zippia) The majority of call centers are located in Texas, or more specifically in Dallas and Houston. The average age of a call center employee is 40 years. Furthermore, 67.2% of all agents are women, while 27.9% are men. 87% of employees in call centers report high stress levels at their job. (Cornell University) Handling customer requests every day is not an easy job. Customer support agents are typically the first line of defense against angry customers, leading to very alarming call center stress statistics. 80% of agents experience angry customers blaming them for things out of their control.  Undefined expectations, lack of incentives, and boredom with mundane, repetitive tasks cause agents to be miserable at work, which, in return, translates into poorer customer experience stats across the board. The average salary of a call center employee is $27,765 per year. (Zippia) Salaries for new agents start at around $20,000 per annum. Those of the 10% top-performing agents can go up to $36,000 or more. The turnover rate for call center agents is over 40% globally. (ICMI) (Mercer) When these call center turnover statistics are compared to the 22% average turnover rate across all industries in the US, it’s easy to see that job satisfaction levels in call centers are troublingly low. Companies need to look into ways of making the job less stressful for their employees and using modern technologies such as AI bots to help facilitate communication with customers. Call Center Technology Trends Good implementation of modern technologies is essential for improving call center statistics and metrics. Let’s check how big of a role software plays in customer support these days.   90% of businesses that use it find live chat software helpful for streamlining call center operations.  (Zippia) According to Zippia’s findings published in December 2021, 29% of all businesses and 61% of those in the B2B sector already use live chat software. 32% of businesses are implementing CRM systems to boost sales and enhance customer relationships. (Zippia) Customer Relationship Management software has an excellent track record of increasing customer engagement. Unfortunately, according to customer service and call center metrics, only a third of businesses make use of it currently. Considering that 31% of customer support teams think that their companies see their work as an expense rather than an opportunity to increase sales, this is not all that surprising. 87% of global organizations that implemented AI did so believing it would give them an advantage over the competition. (Statista) According to Statista, almost 90% of the organizations that implemented AI did so to keep up with the competition, while only 63% did so due to customer demand. Pressure to reduce costs was also a major factor (72%), along with the ability to move into new business spheres (78%). In 2020, 37% of all messages to brand social media accounts were related to customer service issues. (Sprout Social) (Statista) However, most messages (59%) were positive, as customers wished to express their happiness with an excellent experience they’ve had with the brand.  Call center statistics show that in 2020, 75% more customers used  Instagram to message businesses, while Facebook saw a 20% growth in this category. If you are considering implementing social media into customer support options, keep in mind that 18% of customers expect an immediate response; it might be worth investing in social media management tools to help your support team out.
By Vladana Donevski · April 11,2022

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