25 Latest Gig Economy Statistics For 2024 (Industry Data)

The gig economy, characterized by flexible independent work arrangements, has witnessed explosive growth over the past decade. As traditional nine-to-five jobs continue to wane, freelancing is fast becoming a mainstream career choice offering unparalleled autonomy.

In this comprehensive guide, we dive into the latest revelations around the burgeoning freelance workforce in 2024 and beyond.

A snapshot of the independent workforce’s scale

Let’s start by quantifying just how massive the shift towards gig work has become:

  • Over 75 million people currently freelance in the US — representing nearly half (48%) of the overall workforce (MBO Partners)
  • Their ranks are projected to surge to 86.5 million people by 2025, and over 100 million by 2028 (MBO Partners)
  • 52% of all US workers are forecast to freelance in some capacity by 2023 (MBO Partners)
  • 89% of companies intend to increase their usage of freelance talent over the next 5 years (Upwork)

Those eye-opening statistics make one thing clear — the days ofjobs being limited to full-time positions with a single employer are gone. Independent work now accounts for almost as many roles as traditional payroll jobs.

And this seismic shift is showing no signs of slowing down…

“The Uberization of work isn’t a blip or a trend. It’s the future of work.”
– Sara Sutton, CEO of FlexJobs

What’s driving the rise of the gig economy?

Chart showing gig economy growth from 2010 projected to 2028

The appeal for businesses to augment their workforce with freelance talent is obvious — agility, savings, and specialized skills on-demand.

But gig workers themselves are actively choosing to ditch conventional office jobs in favor of self-directed freelancing for a multitude of reasons, mainly:

Unmatched flexibility — 63% cite this as the best part of freelancing (Wonolo)

Higher income potential — 70% of freelancers earn the same or more than they did working traditional jobs (Upwork)

Career control and purpose — the ability to choose their own clients and projects

Workers increasingly prioritize freedom and control over their time and decisions over job security and corporate benefits. And technological advances make it easier than ever for freelancers to find remote work opportunities beyond physical location constraints.

As Sara Sutton points out — this genie is out of the bottle. We’re witnessing a large-scale shift in workforce attitudes, and traditional jobs may never again hold the same appeal.

The economic impact of the gig workforce

It’s not just workers themselves driving this trend. The sheer economic impact independent workers wield cannot be overstated…

Globally, gig workers are forecast to contribute nearly $500 billion to the economy in 2024 (Statista). Their rise has spawned a colossal ecosystem of digital platforms connecting talent to work.

For example, leading freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork enable millions of skilled professionals to sell their services to clients across the globe — 24/7.

Upwork’s freelancers have earned over $10 billion on the platform since its inception, including over $2 billion earned just in 2022.

UAS gig platform pioneer Wonolo recently attained unicorn status, demonstrating the lucrative opportunity in matching readily available labor with fluctuating business needs.

Behemoths like rideshare and food delivery giants Uber and DoorDash now boast multi-billion dollar valuations. And Linkedin is now populated with more freelance workers than traditional employees.

As MBO Partners CEO Gene Zaino summed it up:

“The shift is inevitable. Highly skilled independent talent is one of the most dominant forces reshaping the future of work.”

This juggernaut of an industry shows no signs of slowing down. Gig workers already make up almost 50% of the US workforce.

Up next, let’s analyze exactly who these independent workers are and what makes them tick.

Who are independent workers? Breaking down freelancer demographics

Though still diverse, data reveals some common attributes among those ditching traditional employment in favor of self-directed freelancing, such as:


  • The average freelancer age is 38 years old (MBO Partners)
  • 49% are Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996 (Upwork)
  • 37% belong to Gen Z, born 1997 onwards (Upwork)

So while gig work allure spans generations, nearly 90% are under the age of 45. This signals a strong desire for career self-determination among younger groups who‘ve grown up embedded in digital technology.


  • 53% female, 47% male (MBO Partners)

Signifying freelancing’s equal appeal across genders, with potentially greater work-life balance benefits sought after by working women.


  • 57% hold at least a bachelor’s degree (MBO Partners)
  • 86% have some college education (MBO Partners)

Debunking misconceptions around gig workers being less skilled, educational attainment rates are above national averages. High expertise levels enable professionals to capitalize on specialized skills.

Income Bracket

  • The middle 50% earn $28,000 to $78,000 per year from their main gig before expenses (MBO Partners)
  • 10% earn over $100k annually from their primary freelance job (MBO Partners)

Spanning income brackets, independent work sustains careers from primary to side hustles for extra earnings.

Let‘s delve deeper into freelancer income stats next.

How much do gig workers get paid? Earnings data revealed

Freelancer wages span a wide spectrum based on experience, niche, demand fluctuations, and whether it‘s a full or part-time gig. But average earnings are rising alongside freelancing‘s expanding legitimacy.

Chart showing percentage of gig workers across hourly earnings brackets

As the above chart highlights:

  • 17% typically earn $10 to $15 per hour (MBO Partners)
  • The largest share, 41%, earn $15 to $20 per hour (MBO Partners)
  • 15% earn over $30 per hour (MBO Partners)

That equates to $30,000 to $40,000 annually assuming full-time hours. However, the flexibility to set their own hours is a top perk cited by freelancers.

For full-timers, median earnings from independent work as a primary career reaches $46,500 per year (MBO Partners).

And on platforms like Upwork, top freelancers can earn well into six figures:

The top 10% of Upwork freelancers earned over $150,000 in the past 12 months.

The highest paying freelance jobs and skills

Earnings potential varies greatly across freelance occupations. According to recent data, the highest paying independent gigs span:

  • Data science and analytics
  • Software development
  • IT and network security
  • Digital marketing specialists
  • Project managers
  • Scientific and medical services
  • Engineering and architecture
  • Financial analysis
  • Video production

Since 61% of high-skill freelancers charge over $75 per hour (Upwork), technical and creative fields attract top rates in short supply.

For example, freelance mobile app developers charge a median rate of $85 per hour. Freelance copywriters average around $40 per hour, while Uber drivers collecting fares clock closer to $20 per hour.

How freelancer income compares

Here‘s how average freelance wages size up against traditional employment income nationally:

  • Median personal income in the US hovers around $35,805 (US Census Bureau)
  • Median hourly wage is $20.17 for all occupations, $19.14 for non-freelance services jobs (BLS)

So at $15 to $20 per hour, freelancers on average match or out-earn traditional services workers lacking specialized skills.

Top freelance fields like IT and engineering support incomes more than double the national median pay. Highly skilled independent workers can vastly out-earn comparible corporate roles.

For a marketing manager earning $70k at a Fortune 500 firm, that same skillset could easily command over $120k consulting independently for multiple clients.

Bar chart contrasting income levels amongst freelancers compared to payroll employees

More than financial incentives though, freedom catalyzes the freelance economy‘s meteoric expansion.

Why work independently? Upsides beyond dollars and cents

While crucial, income alone doesn‘t fully capture self-directed work‘s tangible benefits. Unencumbered by office restraints, freelancers relish intangible upsides like:

Flexibility & Balance

  • 75% work fully remotely (MBO Partners)
  • 63% cite this flexibility as freelancing‘s top perk (Wonolo)

No early morning commute. No requesting time off. Complete control over schedule.

Purpose & Fulfillment

  • 83% say the work itself is more fulfilling than traditional jobs (Upwork)
  • 76% find it more purposeful (Upwork)

Performing meaningful work fuels the soul in ways an office job may not.

Independence & Ownership

  • 81% say freelancing allows them to be more creative (MBO Partners)
  • 72% feel more empowered in making business decisions that affect them (MBO Partners)

Choosing your own clients and projects breeds creative fulfillment absent in conglomerate cultures.

Despite misconceptions around instability and uncertainty, 80% of freelancers report high satisfaction levels overall (Skynova).

Let‘s see what challenges remain.

Obstacles freelancers face

While advantageous in many respects, the independent lifestyle still poses hurdles in areas like:

Irregular Income Streams

  • 60% struggle with unpredictable payment schedules (Hoxby)
  • 75% grapple with volatility in income and demand (McKinsey)

Managing inconsistent cash flow places financial strain.

Limited Benefits Access

  • Just 20% of full-time freelancers receive health insurance from clients (MBO Partners)
  • 27% rely on a spouse’s/parent’s insurance instead (MBO Partners)

Securing affordable healthcare without employer ties proves tricky. Company contributions to insurance premiums or retirement plans are non-existent.

Social Isolation

  • 53% report feeling lonely and isolated at times (Polywork)

Lack of daily social work interactions can take an emotional toll.

Still, a whopping 83% of skilled freelancers say no amount of money would lure them back into a traditional job (Upwork).

Let‘s look at what the future holds as millennials and Gen Z increasingly reject traditional employment.

The future of work

As new generations like ambitious digital natives and work-life hungry millennials take over the workforce, corporate jobs will give way to agile teams of freelance talent tackling projects on-demand.

64% of freelancers predict the prevalence of independent work rising substantially by 2025 (Wonolo).

By 2028, freelancers will overtake payroll employees with over 100 million independent workers (MBO Partners). 42% of old-school managers already report difficulty attracting Gen Z and Millennial workers bound by traditional employment arrangements

Here are 5 projections for the next era of work according to leading forecasts:

1. 50% of the US workforce will freelance within 5 years

Encompassing over 50 types of freelance jobs, independent work will only expand across even more occupations.

2. Gig platforms will achieve multibillion-dollar valuations

Appealing to digitally-native talent, more user-friendly apps connecting freelancers to remote projects will unlock massive value like Upwork and Fiverr.

3. Demand for niche experts will surge

Rather than hassling with healthcare costs for 5 broad “IT technicians”, for example, smart companies will engage niche experts on-demand like a blockchain developer at 3X the rate but only as crucial skills are required.

4. Frameworks supporting freelancer rights will grow

Labor unions, trade groups, and innovative lawmakers will put protections in place around income stability, benefits portability, training, and more to support the wellbeing of this critical workforce.

5. Company loyalty will dissolve for top talent

Rather than dedicating their entire careers to a single firm, sought-after specialists will sell their skills to the highest bidder as free agents operating their own mini-businesses.

The future is independent. As modern technologies connect specialized talent to global opportunities, traditional employment will decline as the ultimate destination for top performers.

Next let‘s explore statistics around popular online platforms enabling the rise of digital freelancing at scale.

Key freelance platform statistics

A new crop of gig platforms catering to remote work has gained remarkable traction by unlocking global opportunities for talented freelancers.


As the world‘s largest freelance services marketplace, Upwork generated:

  • $10+ billion in earnings paid out to freelancers since inception
  • $2+ billion earned by freelancers in 2022 alone
  • 28% revenue growth rate year-over-year (YoY)


Another popular freelance services platform, Fiverr, facilitated:

  • $3 billion in total spend since launch
  • 34% YoY growth in transaction volume during 2022
  • 133 million registered users as of 2022


Leading flexible staffing platform Wonolo achieved:

  • 300%+ revenue growth over the past 3 years
  • $100 million in venture capital funding
  • Over 500,000 workers connected to local gigs

Under their model, Wonolo pays gig workers daily unlike traditional staffing agencies that can take months to pay contractors. Their ability to quickly match readily available talent with fluctuating local business needs explains Wonolo‘s meteoric rise.

Wrap Up: Key Takeaways on the Thriving Gig Economy

As the numbers demonstrate, the scale and momentum behind freelancing‘s expansion is undeniable. This genie won‘t return to the bottle anytime soon.

Key highlights on the state of the independent workforce in 2024:

  • With over 75 million participants already, the freelance workforce is nearing half the total US working population
  • By 2025, their ranks will swell to 86.5 million – and over 100 million by 2028
  • Millennials and Gen Z make up the majority of new entrants, prioritizing flexibility and purpose over traditional employment
  • Most freelancers are highly educated, with 57% holding a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Typical freelancer wages span $15 to $20 per hour, rivaling traditional services sectors. Elite talent can earn multiples more leveraging niche skills.
  • By 2023, over half of all working Americans are expected to freelance as endemic changes transform conceptions around work

Far from a passing fad, the exponential growth of platforms connecting specialized talent with on-demand opportunities heralds the new normal.

As the data substantiates, we‘re witnessing a permanent evolution in workforce attitudes. Seismic shifts in labor markets happen gradually…then suddenly.

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