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NatCen: Characteristics of those in the Gig Economy

  • by Career Moves HR
  • 18 Sep 2018

NatCen, Britain’s leading independent social research institute, used a quantitative research design to estimate the characteristics of those working in the gig economy.

They found that if you are younger than 34, renting, and live in London, you are more likely to be involved with the Gig Economy than the general population according to NatCen's study published earlier this year.

The NatCen Panel found that roughly 2.8 million people (4.4%) in the British population had worked in the gig economy and compares the percentage of those involved in the economy with the demographics in the national population. 

Takeaway points:

  • Most involved in the gig economy were generally younger than the rest of the population.
     
  • Those involved in the gig economy were more likely to rent that the population as a whole.
     
  • Those involved in the gig economy most commonly lived in the London area.

Gender

With a slight increase of male involvement compared to the overall population, the gender divide between gig economy workers settles at 54% of men and 46% women (as self-identified), compared to 49% and 51% respectively in the population as a whole.

Age

Over half of those involved in the gig economy, 56%, are aged 34 and under. In the total population, the same age group only makes up 27%. Comparatively, in the age group 55 and above, only 10% were involved in the gig economy, compared to 39% in the total population.

In the British population, 29% of those in full-time or part-time work are aged 18-34, when compared to the 56% of those in the gig economy, it becomes clear that the gig economy offers favourable employment to younger workers.

Tenure

Those involved in the gig economy were more likely than the population as a whole to rent their accommodation, 37% compared with 28% in the general sample. They are also more likely to live with parents, family, or friends either rent-free or paying some, but not all rent, 17% in the gig economy compared with 11%.

The young age range of those in the gig economy may explain some of these trends as it was statistically more common for those in the general population to own their accommodation than it was for those working in the gig economy. Only 44% of those involved in the gig economy owned their own accommodation, compared to 59% of those in the population as a whole.

Region

Those involved in the gig economy most commonly lived in the London area, while 13% of general sample lived in London, 24% of those involved in the gig economy were based there.

These figures are based on a one-off study with a relatively small sample but provides a robust guide to the number of gig economy workers.

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