Gig Workers Are Now 36% of the US Workforce

36% Gig Workers

According to the most recent  American Opportunity Survey by McKinsey & Company, an incredible 36% of employed respondents identified as independent contractors. This is a huge jump from the 2016 reported number of 27% of the working population. The survey includes anyone who identified as a contract, freelance, temporary, or gig worker.

While previous estimates have expected an increase in independent workers, the global pandemic and recent economic factors have caused an even faster growth than previously anticipated. Layoffs and instability during the pandemic and now the rise in the cost of living may have pushed a larger number of workers to turn to gig work in order to supplement their income.

The past few years have also caused workers to reconsider their priorities and many have turned away from the traditional 9-5 job in favor of a freelance career that can offer them the flexibility that they crave. More than a quarter of independent workers say that they do independent work for the autonomy that it offers. 

Other important stats to note from the study:

  • More than a third surveyed say that in 12 months they expect to have more economic opportunities.
  • A third of employed respondents who earn more than $150,000 a year also say they work independently.
  • A quarter of workers report that they choose this kind of work for the autonomy and flexibility it offers. 
  • A quarter of independent workers report that they do independent work because they enjoy it.
Image by McKinsey & Company

Read more about the McKinsey & Company survey findings here.

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