Gig workers purchase power in Oslo and New York

To delve deeper into the experiences gig workers have with their jobs in terms of earnings and costs, AppJobs asked gig workers across a variety of cities to rank their earnings in relation to their living costs.

AppJobs Institute has unprecedented access to data from the perspective of a gig worker with over 700,000 data points. Essentially, we wanted to find out the rate of return for being a gig worker and how gig “worth it” gig work is in different cities where there are gig workers.

Gig workers in 2019 have access to employment opportunities that were previously not available or accessible. Gig work, as part of the “gig economy” involves work that has been distilled into smaller time-dependent tasks.

For companies, gig workers are able to allow them to innovate and expand operations without having to increase tenured headcount; gig workers support rapid scaling up and growth [1].

For gig workers, there has been a rapidly growing landscape of time-bound tasks to perform across a variety of industries, whether it is driving or delivery or cleaning or freelance work [2][3].

Forbes reported in June 2019 that an incredible 90 per cent of freelancers believe that the best days are ahead for them, and more than two-thirds report earning more than they did in full-time employment [2]. Over half of the gig economy workers say that they are satisfied with their experience, highlighting independence and flexibility as the primary causes of their positivity [3].

According to one survey, gig workers tend to financially thrive in metropolitan areas that are highly urbanized with a strong demand for the service industry. Even better are cities where there is a strong culture of startups, where non-traditional employment patterns are deemed more ‘normal’ [4].

Forbes reported in June 2019 that an incredible 90 per cent of freelancers believe that the best days are ahead for them, and more than two-thirds report earning more than they did in full-time employment [2]. Over half of the gig economy workers say that they are satisfied with their experience, highlighting independence and flexibility as the primary causes of their positivity [3].

According to one survey, gig workers tend to financially thrive in metropolitan areas that are highly urbanized with a strong demand for the service industry. Even better are cities where there is a strong culture of startups, where non-traditional employment patterns are deemed more ‘normal’ [4].

We compared ratings in Oslo and New York; Oslo was selected as it ranked highest on the ratings, and New York, a city with some of the highest number of registered gig workers did not even rank in the top 30 of cities. Results found that Oslo was the best city in terms of low costs and high earnings where gig work was ranked as a positive experience. 

One reason for the differing ratings by gig workers could be that the balance between cost of living and a strong economy creates a better gig economy environment for workers. Although salaries are 52% higher in New York City, the cost of living is 139% higher in New York City than in Oslo. Oslo offers relatively cheap costs despite salaries being lower. The rate of return on working as a gig worker requires there to be not just a good salary but a relatively affordable cost of living in relation to that salary. 

Another reason for the differing ratings despite salaries being higher in New York City is that in the US compared to Norway, gig workers have to additionally pay for their own health insurance, costs that are “hidden” from gig workers in Oslo as healthcare is provided free for citizens. As such, despite salaries being higher in New York City, which compensate for the higher cost of living as well, the net benefits afforded to gig workers in Norway are higher where they can “take-home” a larger amount of their income. 

Finally, it is interesting to note that according to AppJobs Institute data, Oslo also ranks highest in terms of how easy it is to start working as a gig worker [7]. This could be an important factor in terms of how gig workers rank this city as a productive place to find gainful employment. New York City, again, one of the cities with the highest amount of gig workers in absolute terms does not feature in the top 30 of cities.

All data gathered above tries to explore how workers, or rather, end-users of digital gig economy platforms truly feel about the employment opportunities in cities, because this can provide in-depth, nuanced, and data-driven information for companies, investors and ultimately, those who make up the gig economy itself: gig workers.

 AppJobs Institute is much more than a website where gig workers can look for their next job opportunity – it is a place where gig workers, as well as decision-makers, investors, researchers and journalists can turn to discuss and find useful information about the gig economy. Based on millions of data points generated through AppJobs.com and other data sources, The AppJobs Institute derive high-quality insights shared with everyone who wish to better understand where the Future of Work, in general, and the gig economy, in particular, is heading.

References

[1]https://www.ey.com/en_gl/tax/how-the-gig-economy-is-changing-the-workforce

[2]https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonyounger/2019/06/18/top-freelancers-are-doing-just-fine-a-new-upwork-study/#1b097ec51135

[3]https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/gig-economy-labour-law-young-people-money-wages-coworking-deliveroo-uber-a8981341.html

[4]https://fitsmallbusiness.com/best-cities-for-gig-economy-jobs/

[5]https://institute.appjobs.com/cost-of-gig-work-by-city

[6]https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Norway&city1=Oslo&country2=United+States&city2=New+York%2C+NY

[7]https://www.institute.appjobs.com/which-cities-are-easiest-to-find-gig-work