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More than 1 in 3 Workers Participate in the Gig Economy, But Employers May Not Realize It

July 16, 2018

Employees are increasingly likely to supplement their income with side jobs, but many companies lack policies on whether employees must disclose outside work. This prevents employers from measuring the full impact of the gig economy.

WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2018–More than one-third of employees (36%) have a side job in the gig economy, according to a new survey by Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews firm. 

But as many as 25% of them don’t tell their managers — creating a host of potential issues for employers.

Even workers who don’t currently participate in the gig economy say they want to – nearly one in five (17%) are actively looking for a side job.

The new study suggests that as businesses adjust to the growing number of gig economy workers, they must evaluate their policies around employees having side jobs.

The gig economy refers to the recent surge of short-term contracts and freelance side jobs that disrupt the norm that most workers only have full-time jobs. These ‘gigs’ range from driving for Uber or renting out spare rooms on Airbnb to providing project-based development, editorial, or other professional services, among others.

Without formal policies in the workplace, experts say employees have little or no legal requirement to disclose their work in the gig economy.

“[If] you don’t expect the work to affect your primary job in any way, it’s not unreasonable to simply proceed without disclosing it,” said Alison Green, a management consultant who pens the Ask a Manager blog. “You’re not obligated to disclose everything you do outside of work.”

Respondents appear to agree, because 25% of those with a side gig said they didn’t tell their manager about it.

Green said that for most of them, that was probably not an issue: “If it’s not a conflict of interest and it’s not getting in the way of the person’s work, the manager should stay out of it,” she said.

Workers Use Side Gigs to Supplement Income

Most workers in the gig economy have the same primary goal: earn extra income outside of their day job. 

Nearly 70% of gig workers identify income as the reason they work a side job. Gig workers often use that supplemental income to pay debts, increase savings, and spend on nonessentials such as travel. 

The gig economy can also serve as a safeguard against unemployment, some workers say.

“[My side gig has] given me the freedom to know I can leave my job at any point,” said Tim Stobierski, who works full-time and freelance writes. “It's given me peace of mind knowing that all of my income isn't tied to a single employer.”

Other motivators for pursuing gig work – including developing new skills (9%) or pursuing a passion (8%) – rank significantly lower than the promise of supplemental income.

Companies Can Benefit From the Gig Economy

Although some employers might be wary of allowing their own employees to take on additional jobs, many companies benefit from hiring gig workers.

Nearly 60% of companies hire gig workers. Companies can avoid the costs associated with recruitment and benefits by hiring freelance or contract workers for short-term projects or tasks that require specialized knowledge.

“We appreciate having the flexibility to rapidly ramp up capacity beyond what our core team of full-timers can handle,” said Chris Hinds, chief operating officer of Road Warrior Creative, a boutique digital marketing agency.

Companies are most likely to hire gig economy workers for assistance with technical tasks; nearly one-third (28%) rely on gig economy workers for development, analytics, and IT services.

The study findings strongly suggest that as the gig economy changes traditional norms surrounding work, companies must consider how the benefits and drawbacks impact their business.

Clutch’s 2018 Future of Jobs Survey included 521 workers at U.S. companies.

Read the full report here:

For questions about the survey, a comment on the findings, or an introduction to the industry experts included in the report, reach out to Michelle Delgado at [email protected].

About Clutch

A B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm in the heart of Washington, DC, Clutch connects small and medium businesses with the best-fit agencies, software, or consultants they need to tackle business challenges together and with confidence. Clutch’s methodology compares business service providers and software in a specific market based on verified client reviews, services offered, work quality, and market presence.


Michelle Delgado

[email protected]

(202) 869-3866