NEW YORK—About 4 in 10 U.S. workers would prefer to work outside of the traditional, full-time, salaried 40-hour work week, according to new research, conducted by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), a staffing advisory firm based in Mountain View, California.
Thirty-seven percent of 7,000 respondents selected alternatives to full-time employment as their preference, with temporary or “gig” work emerging as a leading choice for many. The finding is from research on the size and scope of the contingent work force in the U.S., SIA defined contingent work as synonymous with gig work, which is anyone working on a temporary basis across one or more various types of work arrangements, including:
• Temporary workers assigned through a contingent staffing agency.
• Workers managed through an online platform.
• I-9 independent contractors.
• Self-employed individuals.
• Temporary employees sourced directly by companies, including summer interns and seasonal workers.
• Project-based, statement of work consultants employed by consulting firms.
• While data is not yet available for 2016, according to the research, an estimated 44 million people took on gig work in the U.S. in 2015. Twenty-nine percent of all U.S. workers performed some contingent work in 2015, working for either individuals (26 million) or organizations (18 million).
Total spending on gig work in the U.S. in 2015 was $792 billion. And it is growing rapidly, both in terms of individuals who choose to work in this space and the dollar spend on gig work across the U.S.The largest portion of gig workers in 2015 fell into the following groups:
• Independent contractor or self-employed category (23.5 million workers, or 15.5 percent of the U.S. workforce).
• 14 million workers taking on contingent work through temporary assignments, either through staffing firms (9.5 million workers or 6.2 percent of the U.S. work force) or engaged directly in W-2 work arrangements (5.5 million workers, or 3.6 percent of the U.S. work force), and
2.9 million workers, or 1.9 percent of the U.S. work force, are salaried employees of a consulting firm on a statement-of-work contract with a client company.
• Direct temporary work is more common outside the U.S. where "at-will" employment is rare, the report noted.
So how do these individuals find these types of work arrangements? About 9.7 million workers, or 6.4 percent of the U.S. work force, find gig work through the cloud, web or app-based platforms such as Uber, Upwork or Freelancer. This type of work is more often used to provide supplementary income.
Lastly, the survey found that moonlighting, or performing work outside of one's primary work, is a common practice among contingent workers. The practice has emerged as most prevalent among cloud workers, with 69 percent saying they moonlight to supplement their income. Over half (54 percent) of temporary agency workers and 46 percent of independent contractors said they moonlighted for additional income.Hedley Lawson, Contributing Editor
Aligned Growth Partners, LLC