According to a recent survey conducted by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), a staffing advisory firm based in Mountain View, California, nearly 40% of U.S. workers prefer Gig work.
SIA defined contingent work as synonymous with gig work—anyone working on a temporary basis across one or more various types of work arrangements, including:
- Temporary workers assigned through a staffing agency.
- Workers managed through an online platform.
- Independent contractors.
- Self-employed workers.
- Temporary employees sourced directly, including summer interns and seasonal workers.
- Statement of work consultants employed by consulting firms.
According to the research, an estimated 44 million people took on gig work in the United States in 2015. Twenty-nine percent of all U.S. workers performed some contingent work last year, working for either individuals (26 million) or organizations (18 million). Total spending on gig work in the U.S. in 2015 was $792 billion.
The largest portion of gig workers in 2015 fell into the independent contractor or self-employed category (23.5 million workers, or 15.5 percent of the U.S. workforce.) There were 14 million workers taking on contingent work through temporary assignments, either through staffing firms (9.5 million workers or 6.2 percent of the U.S. workforce) or engaged directly in W-2 work arrangements (5.5 million workers, or 3.6 percent of the U.S. workforce). Direct temporary work is more common outside the U.S. where “at-will” employment is rare, according to the president of the SIA, Barry Asin.
About 9.7 million workers, or 6.4 percent of the U.S. workforce, find gig work through the cloud, Web or app-based platforms such as Uber, Upwork or Freelancer. This type of work is more often used to provide supplementary income.