Gig-work in Modern Economies

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Gig-work in Modern Economies


While there is not enough pre-existing information to fully answer your question, we have used available data to pull together some helpful information: number of gig-economy workers in some countries, gig-worker percentages in certain countries, and factors that may affect gig-work in some areas.

Below you'll find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why the information you've requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.


First, we explored various industry and media publications to obtain information on the gig-economy by country. We located one report that provided the number of gig-workers in six countries but were unable to find a companion report that ranked each country against others not mentioned in the original find. We also researched market shares to determine if we could extrapolate data from those reports but found no data. Our next attempt to find similar reports about countries where the gig-economy is smallest was fruitless.

Our next finding related to the popularity of hiring gig-workers and a few details about popular places to find online labor. However, we were unable to use that data to compare to market share to draw conclusions for the question, as that data was not available. We were also able to find a report that provided percentages of online labor supplied by certain countries, but was not inclusive enough to provide a list and did not provide information on countries where gig-work is least popular.

This same source provided some insight into why gig-work is successful in some areas rather than others, while another discussed an oversupply of available gig-workers in specific areas. Still, there was no mention of popularity (most or least) in either.

We also explored credible news reports on the economic forum, which provided little data for our purpose. We were able to locate an article from 2017 that focused on the gig-economy in three southeast Asian countries and three in sub-Saharan Africa. Again, this did not address any sort of ranking system to identify most or least popular.

It is important to note that the number of gig-economy workers will be included in each country's labor reports, which must be pulled and checked individually. Due to time constraints, it is not possible to gather enough data from those reports to fully answer your question.

Below you'll find the information we were able to gather regarding this request.

Helpful Findings

McKinsey Global Institute provided the following numbers of gig-economy workers by country:
-United States: 54-68 million
-France: 9-21 million
-United Kingdom: 6-14 million
-Germany: 7-13 million
-Sweden: 1-2 million
-Spain 7-12 million

A second report indicated that India provides the most significant percentage of gig-workers (24%) compared to Bangladesh (16%), the United States (12%), Pakistan (8%) and the Philippines (6.5%).

One 2017 study approached gig-work differently, comparing the potential gig-workforce to the successful gig-workers, providing an "oversupply" of potential gig workers who do not regularly have assignments and therefore are untapped resources. This study was limited to one gig-work platform. It suggested that there is a global oversupply of more than 1.5 million gig-workers available and wanting gig-work, but cannot find any. The country breakdown of oversupply is as follows:
-Philippines: 188,300
-Malaysia: 11,400
-Vietnam: 6,700
-Kenya: 20,200
-Nigeria: 6,800
-South Africa: 9,400
While this does not provide enough information to determine most-popular or least-popular overall, it does suggest that these countries are full of untapped potential.

The countries that utilize (hire) gig-workers the most include the United States (52%), the United Kingdom (6.3%), India (5.9%), Australia (5.7%), and Canada (5%).

Businesses benefit from hiring gig-workers, mainly regarding resources: no benefits, no office space, and no learning curve/training. Hiring gig-workers is especially lucrative if the business is looking for experts to assist with specific projects; a contract for gig-work is undoubtedly less expensive than hiring them.

Those who are educated, with decent language skills, and are reliably in good health are most likely to succeed. These are entirely subjective terms, with good reason: the education or language skills needed varies significantly per job. Those who benefit least from gig-work are those who are under-educated, with poor language skills or are in poor health. Logically, this suggests that countries with a lower-educated population are less likely to have gig-workers available.

Health is a concern based on the reliability of the worker. If a worker is sick and only completes half of the work assigned, that work is likely to be reassigned to others who can finish the task. Most likely, they aren't receiving labor protections. One huge question emerges: If the client is based in the United States, but the gig-worker lives in Vietnam, whose labor rules apply? Neither side seems to know the answer.


While we were unable to answer the question regarding gig-work fully, we were able to determine that India provides a large percentage of gig-workers, while the United States hires more gig-workers than anyone else. Labor laws, education, health, and skills significantly affect success.