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Global Gig Economy Reaches USD 4.5 Trillion

Fast-Growing Human Cloud Segment Hits USD 126 Billion

Mountain View, California — September 11, 2019 — Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), the global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions, has published expansive new research on the gig economy, including latest market estimates and features of the US gig economy, the global gig economy, and SIA’s most detailed and comprehensive coverage to date of the fast-growing human cloud segment. The human cloud is an emerging set of work intermediation models that enable work arrangements of various kinds to be established and completed entirely through a digital/online platform.

The US Gig Economy – 2019 Edition report follows SIA’s previous cutting-edge research into the size and spend of the US gig economy and provides an update on the current size and value of the US contingent workforce, including market composition and drivers. The gig economy includes any form of contingent work and is comprised of independent contractors, temporary agency workers, directly sourced temporary workers, statement-of-work consultants and human cloud workers. According to SIA’s latest findings, an estimated 53 million people took on gig work in the US in 2018, with 34% of all US workers performing gig/contingent work last year. Total spending on gig work in the US in 2018 was $1.3 trillion. The report also catalogues reasons workers engage in contingent work, including flexibility, supplemental income and independence as some of the key drivers, with flexibility as the biggest draw for contingent workers. 

Findings from The Global Gig Economy include market estimates for the 18 countries that represent approximately 90% of global temporary agency work spend and per type of contingent worker. Total global gig economy spending hit an estimated $4.5 trillion in 2018.

“As the global gig economy approaches $5 trillion and continues to grow, organizations need to pay attention to what’s ahead,” said Barry Asin, President of SIA. “One in five US workers at large companies are contingent and a comprehensive talent strategy for forward-thinking organizations must embrace the gig economy.” 

The Gig Economy & Human Cloud Landscape: 2019 Update gives a detailed depiction of the human cloud segment in a 70-page report covering the state and evolution of the human cloud, including human cloud business models, a directory of firms, estimates across various categories of human cloud work, drivers and trends, enterprise adoption, outlook for growth and more, with a particular focus on business-to-business (B2B) features of the human cloud.

According the report, total human cloud spending reached an estimated $126.3 billion globally in 2018. While human cloud spend from business-to-consumer (B2C) services, such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates, or Instacart, accounted for the vast majority of total human cloud spend, B2B human cloud growth accelerated to 22% year-over-year in 2018, up from 19% year-over-year in 2017 as businesses continue to explore and integrate digitally-enabled work arrangements. B2B human cloud companies generated approximately $7.8 billion in 2018, with roughly 75% of B2B human cloud transactions in the IT and creative job categories

All but one of the companies in the top five of the largest B2B human cloud companies are headquartered in the US. The Americas accounted for nearly two-thirds (65%) of B2B human cloud spend in 2018, followed by EMEA (21%) and APAC (14%).

The five largest B2B human cloud companies:

Company 2018 Revenue ($ millions) Headquarters Country
Upwork 1,756 USA
MBO Partners 610 USA
Gerson Lehrman Group1 355 USA
Fiverr2 294 Israel
Axiom1 288 USA

1 Excludes non-human cloud revenue; 2Revenue converted to USD 

“While the B2B human cloud represents a relatively small portion of spend within the global gig workforce today, it enjoys a strong double-digit growth trajectory and a massive addressable market,” said Brian Wallins, Research Manager at SIA. “However, in order for the B2B human cloud to sustain elevated growth rates and achieve scale vendors must continually differentiate against, for example, much larger traditional temporary staffing firms, some of which are already responding with digital platforms of their own.”

Firms from across the global gig economy and the human cloud are featured at the 4th annual Collaboration in the Gig Economy conference taking place this week September 10-12th at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. Business leaders exchange viewpoints and share perspectives on the rapidly-evolving gig economy and human cloud transformations during special keynote presentations such as Gig Economy Convergence and the Talent Supply Chain and Gig Economy Shark Tank: Technology Innovation Competition. For more information and the full agenda, visit www.collaborationgigeconomy.com.

The US Gig Economy – 2019 Edition, The Global Gig Economy and the full 70-page The Gig Economy and Human Cloud: 2019 Update are available for SIA’s Corporate and CWS Council Members.

About Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA)

SIA is the Global Advisor on Staffing and Workforce Solutions
Elevating the Workforce Solutions Ecosystem
Founded in 1989, SIA is the global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions. Our proprietary research covers all categories of employed and non-employed work including temporary staffing, independent contracting and other types of contingent labor. SIA’s independent and objective analysis provides insights into the services and suppliers operating in the workforce solutions ecosystem including staffing firms, managed service providers, recruitment process outsourcers, payrolling/compliance firms and talent acquisition technology specialists such as vendor management systems, online staffing platforms, crowdsourcing and online work services. We also provide training and accreditation with our unique Certified Contingent Workforce Professional (CCWP) program.

Known for our award-winning content, data, support tools, publications, executive conferences and events, we help both suppliers and buyers of workforce solutions make better-informed decisions that improve business results and minimize risk. As a division of the international business media company, Crain Communications Inc., SIA is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in London, England.

Media Contact
Jennifer Arcuni, Communications Director, Staffing Industry Analysts
jarcuni@staffingindustry.com  |  +1 650-390-6171  |  www.staffingindustry.com

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