You are on the Natcen site

Click here for Scotcen

natcen map

You are on the Natcen site

Click here for Scotcen

natcen map

Characteristics of those working in the gig economy

Uber Drive
Published: February 2018

Our latest report examines the British gig economy, based on research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).


Our research had three key aims:

  • To develop a working definition of the gig economy
  • To provide a robust estimate of the number of individuals who have found work via the gig economy
  • To provide detailed information on the characteristics of those who work in the gig economy.

Read the full report here.


Key findings

  • Our NatCen Panel found that 4.4% of the population had worked within the gig economy in the past 12 months
  • Providing courier services was the most common type of gig economy activity – with Uber the most commonly-mentioned platform
  • Income varied widely – but the level of annual learnings from gig economy work was relatively low, with 25% of respondents reporting an hourly income of less than £7.50
  • However, more than half of respondents were satisfied with their experience, citing independence and flexibility as the two aspects of gig economy work that they found most beneficial.



This research was based on a three-stage project.

  • Firstly, NatCen developed inclusion and exclusion criteria to determine who should be considered a part of the gig economy
  • Secondly, the NatCen Panel was used to estimate the size of the gig economy, with 2,184 interviews conducted during July and August 2017,
  • Thirdly, a five-wave survey was conducted with YouGov panellists, with 11,825 people surveyed. Fieldwork took place with 343 people deemed to be part of the gig economy during July 2017.

The surveys covered Great Britain only (excluding Northern Ireland).