Key information about the Gig Economy

What is the gig economy?
In essence, the gig economy is a labour market based upon freelance work and short-term contracts.

Gig used to be a slang word used as both a verb and a noun to describe the musician’s “engagement at a single venue” in the 1920s’ USA. Over the years, the term has been used to mean a task, in different contexts. In literature and vernacular. The phenomenon scale ranges from the local level to the global one, it includes jobs that can be executed either online or offline, while a gig worker’s location may vary depending of the type of the gig.

Who is a gig worker?
Gig workers are people who participate in the gig economy. No matter who, where or how old you are: you can be a gig worker. The two biggest age groups working as gig workers are people under 25 years and people in the ages between 25-40. 

There are more men than women working within the gig economy, and the gender split is larger depending on gig category. For example 70 % of the gig workers within driving and delivery are men, while women makes up for approximately 80 % av the ones working with babysitting.

What kind of work is available within the Gig Economy?
There are many different job opportunities depending on what resources and skills you have. From driving to food delivery or freelance bookkeeping.

What’s the difference between Platform Economy/ Gig Economy/ Sharing Economy?
These are all words for the same concept. As the structure is still a relatively new phenomenon, there are lots of terms used by researchers: including platform economy, gig economy and sharing economy.

How much is a gig worker paid?
It is hard to give an exact figure. Depending on the type(s) of work you do and how often you work (e.g. whether these are their only streams of revenue or a side hustle) will be a big proponent in the earnings of a gig worker.

Are gig workers employees or self employed?
Gig workers are usually considered to be freelance. They accept work for a company but work on their terms. They choose their schedule and often deal with income and taxes without the assistance of the platforms they are working with, as it is possible to work with multiple platforms across different industries.

How big is the gig economy phenomenon globally?
It is predicted that by 2023, the predicted value of the volume generated by the gig economy is around $455 billion [1].

How many are gig workers around the world?
According to research by McKinsey, around 20-30% of the US and EU workforce is involved in the gig economy. However, this number is always on the rise as the gig economy gains traction.

[1] Mastercard and Kaiser Associates. 2019. The Global Gig Economy: Capitalizing On A ~$500B Opportunity. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 26 August 2020].