Gig Work Becoming Primary Source of Income for Many Workers

Branch, the leading workforce payments platform, and Marqeta, the global modern card issuing platform, today announced findings from the third annual Branch x Marqeta Gig Payments Report, a joint study on the work and payments preferences of gig workers.

Surveying over 1,000 workers who turned to gig and 1099 work in the last six months, the study found that gig work continues to be a lifeline and has become a primary source of income for many workers rather than a supplement to salaried roles, with survey respondents almost unanimously citing inflation as an ongoing struggle.

Among workers surveyed, 61% cited that they complete gig work for their primary income, a nearly 3x increase from 2021, where 21% of those surveyed said the same. Hinting at increasing economic instability, the number of workers who have left, or plan to leave, full-time employment to join the gig economy increased by 40%, rising from 35% in 2022 to 49% in 2023. In addition, 55% of workers feel like they have more opportunities to pick up work this year compared to last year, and 66% of surveyed workers said they find it easy to pick up gig work.

Inflation continues to be a main driver for workers seeking gig work opportunities, with almost two-thirds (63%) picking up more jobs due to inflation and higher prices. Specifically, workers cited gas (85%), groceries (80%), and utilities (45%) as the top price increases that have impacted them the most in the past six months. Being paid faster after a shift is an incentive for many workers, with 79% citing that they’d choose one gig platform over another if it could pay instantly without fees.

“The speed and ease in which workers can not only find work, but also get paid are why they’re increasingly choosing the gig economy over traditional work to weather today’s economic challenges,” said Branch CEO Atif Siddiqi. “Platforms that can offer workers higher, faster payments and compelling financial services that can help them better meet both their work and personal expenses will win over this growing wave of talent.”

Amid rising economic instability, gig work provides workers with a sense of financial security. Fifty-three percent of workers feel more financially resilient to economic changes because of their gig work, and nearly half (49%) think their economic prospects are higher compared to working a salaried job.

Among Gen Z gig workers surveyed, this number rises to 58%, demonstrating the evolving nature of traditional jobs. What’s more, the flexibility of hours they work (55%), higher earning potential (25%) and faster payments (10%) are what make them most likely to stay with a gig platform, with 19% of Gen Z gig workers surveyed selecting faster payments as a top reason to stay.

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