Businesses spent $4.4 trillion on contingent labor globally in 2020, according to data from SIA. Roughly 61% of that was on independent contractor services, while workers provided through staffing firms accounted for just 9%. Globally, direct sourcing comprised more of global spend at $667 billion, or about 15% of global spend.
The picture is roughly the same in the US, which comprised about 52 million contingent workers and $1.3 trillion in spend in 2020, according to SIA. While contingent work through staffing firms accounted for about 9% of 2020 spend, direct sourcing is much lower than global figures; in 2020, about 9% of overall contingent workforce spend was done directly.
SIA defines the “gig economy” to include any contingent work of a fixed duration, breaking down the workforce into five categories: temporary workers assigned by a staffing agency (TAW), platform-related work, other independent contractors (IC) and business owners with no employees, temporary employees sourced directly, and salaried employees of consulting firms on consulting engagements with clients (statement-of work consultants).
Platform-related work includes talent platforms and work services platforms and accounts for the smallest portion of global spend, though it outpaces direct sourcing in the US.
SIA reports are available to members of the CWS Council .