- Ultimate Gig Research Project and PayQuicker report explores how gig work is being redefined, creating a shift in opportunities across sectors.
- The study finds that it is a myth that people work gigs to fully replace the income of a primary job.
- Gig workers seek intentionality with finances, with 83% of respondents citing the importance of being paid quickly and more than half reporting a compensation or payment-related reason as the most important characteristic when looking for gig work.
New York, NY – July 13, 2023 – Key findings and insights from primary research on the evolution and growth of the gig economy workforce were released by the study’s sponsor, PayQuicker, an innovative financial technology leader in the global payouts market.
The research, conducted by gig economy experts Dr. Robert A. Peterson, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin, and John Fleming, Author of Ultimate Gig, encompasses a sample of more than 2,000 gig workers in the United States, and presents several managerial and public policy insights.
The gig economy will create an economic impact estimated to exceed $1 trillion dollars in the U.S. and the number of gig workers is estimated to reach 78 million by the end of 2023, according to Mastercard. This shift from traditional 9-5 work has a profound impact on the way people expect to work, the hours they work, and how they are paid.
The study highlights the growing interest in working multiple gigs, the motivations behind gig work, and how this on-demand economy is shaping on-demand payment preferences. Notable findings include:
Gig work is being redefined and the diversity in types of gig work is growing:
- The gig economy is much broader than platform-based ride-sharing. The most popular gig reported by the study is restaurant, grocery and delivery services (13%), in comparison to ride-sharing/transportation services (8%), child-care or elder-care services (7%) and freelance graphic design, photography and copyediting (4%) – representing just a sample of the diverse types of gigs reported.
- The study also finds that 60% of the gig workforce works multiple gigs, with 23% of respondents working more than three gigs.
It is a myth that people work gigs to fully replace the income of a primary job:
- Individuals enter into gigs with realistic expectations and aspirations regarding possible earnings. Over half (55%) of respondents working one gig reported that they expected to make less than $300 a month.
- Only about 13% of gig workers (working one gig) surveyed report that they make $1,000 or more a month.
- More than monetary reasons drive gig work. Gig workers said they partake in gig work to be intentional with their spare time, with a quarter (25%) either enjoying the work or using the time to explore their different interests.
Gig work is driven by freedom, flexibility and intentionality, which also translates to the demand in the way gig workers expect to be paid:
- When asked why they took on gig work, about 46% reported the need for more money. But it’s not just about ‘extra money’, they want to be intentional with money.
- Half of respondents (50%) reported that they primarily use the money earned from their gig to pay household bills. Roughly 34% report to use the money to save, invest, or support their lifestyle.
- More than 83% of gig workers who reported working one gig say it’s ‘somewhat important’ or ‘very important’ that they are paid for performance in a timely fashion, which suggests that companies offering new, innovative means of payment may well have a competitive advantage.
Gig work is forcing change for all gig and non-gig companies in the traditional ways of payroll:
- An important, and perhaps surprising, finding of the research was that more than one third of the gig workers surveyed said they were paid immediately upon finishing a gig (39%), while two-thirds (61%) are not.
- When looking for gig work, more than half (51%) of gig workers cite a compensation or payment-related reason as the most important characteristics, including frequency of pay, payment method and payment security.
This dynamic shift includes switching from outdated and delayed methods for sending payouts to modern and flexible options:
- When asked how they are paid, a surprising 41% report by cash or check. 35% receive earnings through direct bank deposit, and less than a quarter (21%) were paid by mobile wallet. Crypto currency and “other” represented less than 4%.
Charles Rosenblatt, President of PayQuicker, said: “The exponential growth of the global gig economy, an on-demand workforce, is highlighting the challenges companies face in presenting on-demand payment options. There is increasing demand for people to get paid faster, even instantaneously, and for the gig economy, it is a critical part of their household income. As the future of work evolves, so does the need for real-time payment solutions that tackle this head on and bring streamlined solutions to companies and their gig and alternative workers.”
Dr. Robert A. Peterson, a professor at the University of Texas and coauthor of the study, said: “Until now, there had not been a comprehensive study of the motivations and preferences of gig workers, as prior research has been limited to specific subcategories of gig work. In conducting this research, we wanted to identify and understand a broader array of gig workers, and document their gig-related behaviors, demographic characteristics, and motivations in a form useful for business decision makers and public policy officials.”
John Fleming, Author of Ultimate Gig and coauthor of the study, said: “The continued growth of gig workers is having profound impacts on not just the U.S. economy, but on a global scale. An understanding of the motivations, and actions of gig workers is critical in today’s world, given this global impact. The insights and implications provided by this research should serve to inform and improve managerial decision making regarding the nature, scope, and growth of the gig economy and the gig workers who participate in it.”