How Gig Work In The US Became A Career

With U.S. gig workers accounting for more than $1.4 trillion in income by the end of 2018, it’s safe to say the gig economy is becoming a mainstream part of the global economy.

From ridesharing drivers to freelance designers and consultants, an increasing share of gig workers are pursuing specialized jobs, often juggling multiple at once. In fact, the share of those in the gig economy with highly specialized skills rose to 32.3 percent in Q4 2018 — a 12.2 percent increase over the previous quarter.

With gig workers taking up more ad hoc jobs, PYMNTS research found that these workers are searching for additional flexibility when it comes to how they’re paid for the multiple jobs they take on each month.

In the Q4 2018 edition of the Gig Economy Index, in collaboration with Hyperwallet, PYMNTS surveyed more than 10,000 American workers — including 3,000 gig economy professionals — to find out where and why they’re choosing jobs, as well as how factors like payments and flexibility influence that process. The Index also looked at how digital marketplaces are changing the way the gig economy is expanding.

Digital marketplaces have continued to play a critical role in how workers find source jobs. What’s more, workers who find roles through these marketplaces are much more likely to receive their money via direct deposit or PayPal, as opposed to more cumbersome methods like cash or check. In fact, 70 percent of gig workers reported a high rate of satisfaction with direct deposit payments.

How, exactly, are these marketplaces influencing workers’ payments and expenditures, and what role are payment methods playing in the gigs that workers decide to pursue? As the makeup of the gig economy changes, the importance of the digital marketplace and the availability of instant payments is growing.

Key Findings in the Report:

  • 41.9 percent of gig workers were compensated via PayPal
  • 26.8 percent of gig workers who sourced gigs through digital marketplaces were paid instantly
  • 37.6 percent of non-seasonal gig workers had earned a graduate degree

For more on how digital marketplaces are playing a role in the expanding gig economy, download the latest Index.