How Do On-Demand Workers Really Feel About Their Jobs?

As on-demand workers become an increasingly significant portion of the total workforce, there’s been plenty of debate about whether full-time on-demand workers should be offered benefits and pay like traditional full-time employees. Most of these workers are looking for stability, which is difficult to find as a contractor whose availability must inevitably be far greater than a traditional 9-5 schedule. Despite wanting improved compensation, more than 60 percent of participants in a recent survey said they would not want to join a union. An opinion which seemed to be inversely related to income.

A recent report by TINYpulse, an HR technology and employee engagement company, studied more than 250 self-identified on-demand workers to learn about the on-demand experience. Participants in the study were all independent contractors spanning the healthcare, cleaning, events, food, driving, and lodging industries, among others. Here are the key takeaways from the report:

  • On-demand workers are “significantly less happy than traditional workers,” often choosing on-demand work until a more stable or traditional opportunity opens up.
  • Most on-demand workers want to be paid more.
  • The happiest on-demand workers often work 40-60 hours a week, while the least happy are often those earning less that $40k.
  • One-third of participants rely on their on-demand job as their only source of income.
  • 58 percent of on-demand workers were men; and 48 percent of participants were between 45-64 years old.

On-demand workers in the events and errands industries reported the highest earnings, with annual incomes most commonly over $150,000. The primary reason participants gave for holding their on-demand jobs was that it is their only source of income. The next most popular reason was the need for extra income, followed by flexible work hours.

The research suggest that on-demand work is necessary for many individuals to support themselves. Participants also seem to generally enjoy the flexible schedules their jobs allow, but would prefer something with more of a long-term focus, including benefits like health insurance and retirement planning. Most participants were unhappy with their jobs as a whole, but seemed to become increasingly happier with a rise in income.

On-demand opportunities have been shaking up the workforce for years now. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how regulators and brands approach the satisfactions of the contractors on which they rely.

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