When we started our research, we did not find consistent metrics relative to the gig economy. What we did find was very informative as we shaped our approach to the book. One of the subjects we decided to devote a chapter to was the role women were playing in the growth of the gig economy. Based on my personal experience working for “the company for women,” Avon Products Inc., it seemed ideal to focus on flexibility and freedom in how and when work was performed.
When I worked at Avon, women represented probably about 99% of the salesforce of Avon Representatives. The experience taught me many lessons that have impacted my way of thinking. When I began studying the gig economy, I assumed women would be a primary component of the gig economy growth. However, when we started our research, we found that women were reported to be approximately one-third of all gig workers.
When we conducted our own primary research, we anxiously awaited the findings, as we wanted our own data that would be as current as possible. We conducted our research in July 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. Those who participated in our survey, conducted by one of the best and most reliable research organizations in the world, volunteered to answer our questions. The qualification to participate in the survey was simple: be a gig worker. In our survey sample of 1,001 participants, 51% were men and 49% women, representing a significant shift. (The shift was not unexpected. A Hyperwallet survey of gig workers conducted in 2017 predicted the shift, declaring: the future of gig work will be about women.)
The previous statements should have a significant impact on the marketing departments responsible for attracting gig workers. Some types of gig work, especially within the service category, may continue to attract more men; however, assumptions should not be made. With the growing interest in micro-entrepreneurship and opportunities to represent platforms and brands, we easily forecast the future of gig work to at least be balanced between the participation of men and women. The shrinking role of employees and the growing appeal of alternative work possibilities appear to be added fuel for the gig economy’s continued growth.