General Business

iCIMS Report Finds Gig Workers are Mostly Educated Females in Mid-Career

Contrary to popular belief that contingent work is short-term and low-paying, it can be sustainable, flexible and financially rewarding

Contract work is the primary source of income for 70 percent of contingent workers, according to a new report – The Myths & Realities of the U.S. Gig Economy – based on a survey of 1,000 contingent U.S. workers, published by Holmdel-based  iCIMS, a leading provider of cloud-based talent acquisition solutions. The study found that many of the assumptions people make about contingent workers – such as they are mostly low-earners in manual and service industries looking for short-term work to supplement their main income – are misconceptions.

There are up to 15.5 million Americans – 10 percent of the total U.S. labor force – who use contingent or alternative work as their primary source of income, providing employers with an experienced talent pool to tap into, especially in today’s tight labor market.1“Our survey indicated that the majority of contingent workers are experienced and nearly half hold an associate’s degree or higher. Employers can tap them to fill gaps in their workforce,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS. “Professionals looking for a flexible schedule can consider independent, contingent work a potentially sustainable career to build towards. The key to success as a contingent worker is to develop one’s professional network, which we found is the primary source of new contract opportunities.”

Key findings include:

Myth: Contingent workers are low-earners in manual and service industries.

Reality: Eighty-two percent of contingent workers said they have at least one current contract job that is knowledge-based, such as writing, photography, professional consulting, technology services, healthcare services or tutoring.

Myth: People join the gig economy as a short-term solution between full-time positions.

Reality: Many workers have been participating in the gig economy for a long time, with 40 percent having started doing contract work more than five years ago. Only 31 percent said one of their goals of taking contract jobs is to transition into a full-time job and only 15 percent said they wanted to land a full-time job at the company they contract for.

Myth: Gig work is stressful.

Reality: Flexibility outweighs stability for the contingent workforce, as 76 percent of gig workers find contract work exciting and only 24 percent find it stressful.

Myth: Contingent workers source their jobs from temp agencies or on-demand mobile applications.

Reality: Sixty-five percent found contract jobs from referrals, such as friends or professional network contacts. Only 17 percent found work through mobile-based applications for on-demand jobs.

Myth: The biggest downside of contract work is the lack of job security.

Reality: According to gig workers, the biggest downside of the work, by far, is lack of employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement plans.

About the report:

This iCIMS survey was conducted among 1,000 US adult gig workers including, independent contractors, freelancers or short-term temporary employees. In addition to the survey, the report also includes data points from iCIMS’ recruiting platform, which is drawn from a database of more than 61 million applications and 3 million jobs posted per year by more than 4,000 customers worldwide.

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