Flexible schedules drive surge of workers to the gig economy

A recent national survey conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Jitjatjo, a prominent WFM platform and talent marketplace, sheds light on the American perspective of the gig economy. The survey findings emphasize the appeal of flexibility and work-life balance, while acknowledging the challenge of limited benefits. Notably, the majority of respondents anticipate a future where flexible workers take center stage in the national economy.

Gig workers have tripled in numbers between 2017 and 2021 – and continue to rise. McKinsey’s 2022 American Opportunity Survey reported that 36% of employed individuals in the U.S. now identify as independent workers – up from 27% in 2016.

What fuels the switch from traditional 9 to 5 jobs to gig work? Flexibility! 

“The gig economy shows no sign of slowing growth; flexibility has been a driving factor to join the movement, and offering benefits to gig workers significantly improves retention,” said Tim Chatfield, Co-founder and CEO of Jitjatjo. “We believe that gig workers should have the opportunity to access benefits and protections similar to that of full-time workers by (a) being properly classified as W2 employees and (b) earning access to benefits based on the hours they work.”

The survey data points below illustrate the importance of flexibility to the younger cohorts and why the flexible labor market is on a trajectory of high-impact growth.

Flexibility is the key driver for the gig economy

The survey reaffirms that flexibility remains the primary driver for individuals switching from typical office hours to flexible gig work:

  • 63% report that setting their own schedule makes gig work more attractive than a traditional office job.
  • 63% of people attribute the shared economy growth to workers prioritizing flexibility over traditional career paths.
  • 44% of U.S. respondents across all age groups would consider leaving their full-time role for contingent work if it allowed a four-day workweek.
  • 53% of those who have made the switch attribute it to their interest in flexibility and work/life balance.
  • More than half of respondents (51%) think gig workers are happier than office workers.

Gen Z and Millennials are all in on the shared economy

The younger cohorts are more likely to have participated in the gig economy, but its future as a long-term career option offering benefits could be the key to retaining them:

  • Half of respondents under 45 would consider leaving their full-time jobs if gig work provided benefits.
  • A significant 74% of respondents under 45 believe flexible workers will drive America’s future economy eventually – not traditional/full-time workers.
  • Nearly twice as many people under 45 have or are currently participating in the flexible labor market, compared to only 30% of those over 45.

Benefits are critical to the continued growth of the gig economy

A lack of benefits and protections keeps many individuals from participating in the shared economy:

  • 45% of all workers report a lack of benefits is the biggest challenge to being a contingent worker.
  • Three-quarters (74%) of those under 45 agree that flexible workers should receive the same benefits and protections as traditional employees.
  • 74% are also in favor of government regulations to address flexible labor market issues, such as rights and benefits.
  • Nearly half (46%) of Gen Z think gig work can only be a trusted long-term option if benefits are guaranteed; only 23% of Millennials agree.

Solving the benefits challenge with Better by Jitjatjo
Jitjatjo aims to address the benefits gap by partnering with Avibra to offer affordable healthcare and wellness benefits. A part of Jitjatjo’s human betterment mission, Better by Jitjatjo offers gig workers a comprehensive suite of benefits, from health and finance to wellness and lifestyle perks.

“From day one, Jitjatjo’s purpose was to build a platform that provides tools and essential benefits to help talent reach their full potential and feel valued. Additionally, we want our business partners to thrive,” said Victoria Bethlehem, Chief People Officer at Jitjatjo. “As the gig economy continues to reshape the future of work, Jitjatjo invites individuals to explore our flexible work opportunities and benefit from our workforce management offerings whilst enjoying the full benefits of being part of the growing gig economy.”

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