Tech gig workers love the flexibility, report finds

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As the government looks to fill tech positions, it could consider offering some of the benefits that workers like about freelancing, such as flexibility and remote work.

Tech workers in the gig economy love the flexibility of the less permanent roles, according to a recent Legal & General U.S. Gig Economy study, which noted that offering flexible working could draw tech gig workers back to the traditional workplace.

For 70% of the study’s respondents, freelancing is a choice; while the remainder were presented with this way of work and embraced it, the study noted. According to the study, remote work and flexible locations are more important for tech freelancers than for other gig workers, with many wanting to perform gig work because of their location. Schedule flexibility is also a priority, the study stated. 

The study found that the COVID-19 pandemic also impacted tech gig work, causing more technology roles to become freelance work, with many workers appreciating the “pandemic resistance work arrangements.” 

The study found that about 10% of its gig worker database worked in the technology sector. Moreover, tech gig workers were more likely to be male (72%) than non-tech gig workers (51%), according to the study, and more likely to be young, with twice as many tech gig workers under 35 than gig workers overall. 

But most of those working freelance tech jobs are relatively new at this type of work, according to the study, with 33% of study respondents having freelanced for less than five years.

The study noted that respondents have to earn at least 60% of their income through the gig economy or independent work to be included. But for many, tech gig work is an added source of income, as 56% of tech gig workers have another job or source of income, while only 44% have gig work as their sole source of income. The study found that 66% of tech gig workers expected to remain in gig work in the foreseeable future, while 10% indicated they would return to traditional employment. The study also noted that tech gig workers are more likely to want to retire early than other gig workers. 

“Among the drivers that could attract tech gig workers to return to the traditional workspace, flexible working is by far the most important. It's significantly more important for this group than for gig workers in general. This priority reflects the reasons why they moved into contracting and what they value the most in this arrangement—remote access to work, flexibility of schedule, and working from home,” according to the study. Additionally, benefits that are absent or difficult to obtain in gig work could sway people to move to a traditional workplace.  

As the tech industry continues to lay off workers, some may turn to the gig economy to continue their careers. But government agencies have also ramped up efforts to attract these workers to federal service, highlighting benefits and stability to draw potential hires.

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