COVID and the Gig Economy – By the Numbers

covid and the gig economy

Offering flexibility and a better life/work balance than ‘traditional’ jobs, the gig economy has been thriving for a number of years in the US.

The global pandemic changed the way we worked, paving the way for greater gig work opportunities.

Offering insight into the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic transformed the gig economy is an infographic by Wage, providers of digital solutions for gig workers and companies looking to hire for gig jobs.

Using multiple sources and data, the infographic shows how the gig economy has grown, which nature of gig work is in most demand, the benefits of gigs, and the future of this type of work.

For anyone thinking about breaking into gig work, or for small businesses wanting to start using this flexible working arrangement, the infographic offers valuable insight and information.

Gig Economy Doubled in Size in 6 years

In 2020, the gig economy grew by 33%, expanding 8.25x faster than the US economy as a whole. The same year, 2 million Americans tried gig work for the first time, and 34% of the US workers are now involved in the gig economy.

Even before the pandemic struck, the gig economy was flourishing, having doubled in size in the last six years.

Increasing Demand for Delivery Services

One of the fastest-growing gig services is delivery, including ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery, retail product delivery, and running errands. With nationwide lockdowns prohibiting travel and restaurants closed, delivery services became significantly more popular during the pandemic.

Growth in the delivery services is forecast to continue and is expected to reach a total value of £200 billion by 2025.

Other major categories of gig work include home services, such as construction, repair and moving, personal services like babysitting, hair and makeup and personal training, computer services, including data entry and phone repair, as well as automotive, and event and entertainment.

Benefits of Gig Work

The infographic also explores the benefits of choosing this flexible type of employment. Pointing to a survey that asked what people liked about a gig-type set-up, flexibility came out as the leading benefit, with 74% of gig workers saying they love the greater flexibility it provides.

70% of gig workers say they are paid more than traditionally paid peers, and 58% say they have a better quality of life, working less than 30 hours a week.

Future of Gig Work

The research also looks at the future of gig work and how businesses plan to use the flexible type of employment.

4 in 5 businesses are planning on hiring more gig workers post-pandemic, with 50% saying they have already done so.

How to Break into the Gig Economy

The infographic offers advice on the best ways to break into the gig economy. Being proactive by looking for openings, building a profile, and trying something new, can be effective steps into securing gig work.

As can asking for reviews from customers to gain further work and going that extra mile to keep gig clients happy.

Producing almost 6% of GDP in the United States, and with workers and employers citing the benefits, it looks like gig work is here to stay.

How The Global Pandemic Transformed The Gig Economy

Image: Depositphotos

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".