2020 Pulse of Talent: Engaging the alternative workforce

What do today’s freelancers and gig workers really want from their employers?


The alternative workforce – also known as the “gig economy” – is a big topic for media and business leaders right now. The emergence of new, tech-driven ways of working is introducing many questions: Is alternative work the future or a trend? Are these workers happy or do they feel exploited? What motivates alternative workers?

The alternative workforce’s inherent flexibility makes it perfectly suited to help organizations stay competitive as they contend with rapid technological advancement, evolving market conditions, and rising customer expectations. But, while alternative workers may have some differences from the full-time workforce, they’re still people – and that means they’re most productive and valuable to organizations when they’re engaged.

This report dives deep into the reality of today’s alternative workers, exploring the advantages and drawbacks, what they look for in an employer, and their outlook on the future.

Here are a few highlights from the report:


Most alternative workers are satisfied with their jobs

According to our research, 79% of respondents are “somewhat” or “extremely” satisfied with their current gig or contract role. The top reasons for this satisfaction was interesting work, followed by flexibility, and having good relationships with their colleagues or employees.



Despite challenges, more than half will continue with alternative work

The alternative workers we surveyed had some concerns about the precarity of their work situation. 40% were “moderately” or “extremely” worried about having adequate work in the next two years – a concern that was even higher for the youngest respondents.



Respondents cited income instability, inconsistent work hours, and uncertainty around the availability of future work as top challenges. Despite their worries, however, 57% of the alternative workers we surveyed said they plan to continue working this way “for the foreseeable future”.


More than half of the gig workers surveyed agree with unionizing

When asked whether they believe gig workers should unionize, 56% of our gig worker respondents answered “yes”. The top reason given was to negotiate better wages (69%) and benefits (59%), and over half agreed it would help ensure equality (55%).



Engaging the alternative workforce

Our research revealed that alternative workers have a diverse range of experiences, motivations, and values. This report offers companies a roadmap to engage different types of alternative workers based on the results our 2020 Pulse of Talent findings and other research.


About the survey

We surveyed 1,115 alternative workers – gig workers, freelancers, and contractors – from North America. We asked a series of questions aimed at understanding why they chose alternative work, their level of engagement, the reasons behind their satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and where they see themselves in the future.


Download the full report to learn more about engaging today’s alternative workers.

2020 Ceridian Pulse of Talent Report
See the Ceridian Privacy Policy for more details.