Workplace Trends
June 22, 2023

4 Trends Booming in the Gig Economy

Back in 2021, workers were picking up shifts to supplement their income. 

Two years later, it’s a different story.

Our 3rd annual survey of 1,000+ gig workers and independent contractors across industries found that gig work not only continues to be a lifeline but has even become a primary source of income for many workers rather than a supplement to salaried roles amidst rising inflation. We dive deeper into this and several other key trends taking hold in the gig economy.  

Workers are going all-in on gig work

“Among workers surveyed, 61% cited that they complete gig work for their primary income, nearly a 3x increase from 2021, where 21% of those surveyed said the same.”

Gig work is no longer about picking up the odd shift here and there, with more people turning to gig work as their primary source of income. Workers view gig work as a tool for financial resiliency and increasing economic prospects.

The number of workers who have left or plan to leave full-time employment for gig work increased by 40% from 2022. Leaders at gig platforms need to consider what makes their app stand out from the competition to increase adoption with new talent. 

Inflation is driving workers to pick up more shifts this year

“Almost two-thirds (63%) of those surveyed said they’re picking up more gig shifts due to inflation and higher prices. 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.”

Times are tough, and gig workers are feeling the pinch. Everyday expenses place increased pressure on workers—more than a third of respondents have $0 saved in case of emergency.

There’s never been a better time for companies to consider how they can support workers with faster payouts and additional perks. 

It’s also worth considering a new or existing partner with a program like Branch Rewards. Workers spend at participating companies and receive cash back at the end of the month—all because they paid with their Branch card.


This additional offering helps companies stand out to gig workers and helps their pay stretch further in the increasingly difficult economy.

Gen Z is most optimistic about gig work

“58% of Gen Z gig workers are optimistic about their economic prospects in the gig economy.”

Optimism toward economic prospects in the gig economy is soaring across generations, with Gen Z the most bullish.

Statistic from the 2023 Gig Payments Report

The top reason fueling this optimism is the flexible nature of gig work, followed by the higher earning potential of the gig economy. 

Gen Z gravitate toward the gig economy more than other generations because of how much they value speed in payments. Receiving faster payments was the primary reason for 19% of Gen Z—but only 3% of Boomers considered this a top factor for selecting a gig platform.

Whether your existing gig workforce is primarily Gen Z or you’re thinking about attracting several generations of workers, it's important to consider your target talent pool’s unique preferences when choosing specific features and perks for your app.

Faster, flexible digital gig economy payments are a must

“Nearly 80% of workers surveyed cited that they’d choose one gig platform over another if it could pay instantly without fees.”

Faster payments are no longer a nice-to-have for companies in the gig economy, they’re a must-have—a key differentiator for gig workers when choosing a platform. 

Our research revealed that the faster, the better: 30% of workers want to be paid at least daily, 28% want to be paid directly after each job, and 10% of workers said they want complete flexibility over when they receive payment.

Instant payments are becoming a must-have for gig workers, making them a must-offer for gig platforms.

Get the full scoop on the current state of the gig economy 

Evolving workforces are pushing gig work platforms to adjust to new preferences. Failing to stay up-to-date means losing out on both existing and new workers.

Learn more about gig worker preferences and statistics in the 2023 Gig Payments Report—available to download now.

Continue reading