Roughly 76 million workers in the United States – more than half of the U.S. labor force – are paid hourly. Among them is a fast-growing group of workers deciding when and how to work based on their personal needs and financial goals. They're creating a new category: the flexible workforce.
More than 3 million of these workers make up the Instawork Pro network, which grew by 1 million workers between March and July alone.
The State of the Flexible Workforce report is the first compendium of flexible workers' demographics, education, location, motivations, and conditions of employment. Using a combination of data from internal surveys, transactions on our platform, and government statistics, we've been able to describe flexible workers and highlight how they differ from hourly workers overall.
Here is a sampling of the report's major findings:
- Flexible workers are slightly younger than hourly workers overall, and they also have more diverse backgrounds.
The majority of flexible workers are between ages 25 and 44. Only about 1 in 6 identify primarily as White. By contrast, almost three quarters of hourly workers overall identify as White.
- Education levels are higher for flexible workers than for hourly workers overall.
More than two thirds of flexible workers have completed some college coursework, versus just over half of hourly workers overall.
- Setting one's own schedule and being one's own boss are among the primary motivations for flexible workers.
These motivations were even more important for workers who said they were the sole earners in their households.
- Averaging across roles in flexible work, we find zero gap in pay related to gender or ethnic/racial background
This results in large part from the structure of our online marketplace, where pay rates are set before shifts are booked.
This report illustrates the tremendous value that flexible workers bring to the labor market. They are diverse, educated, motivated, and entrepreneurial people who often receive higher hourly pay than their counterparts among permanent employees. As our marketplace flourishes, flexible workers are proving their worth.