Remember the gig economy? The one with all of those great temp jobs for workers. Then, bam, came the pandemic, and those great gig jobs took a hit. Where did the workers go and what’s next for this important employment sector in our economy? We asked gig workers, and here’s what we learned.

Our company, LGC, staffs gig workers across the country with a hospitality industry niche. Over a year ago as it became evident COVID-19 was going to impact the country in ways none of us could imagine, we knew the pandemic was coming for our business and our workers. It was time to quickly think about new possibilities.

A year later, as we slowly begin to come back outside and into the world, our national team is still here and still staffing gig jobs. Yet our clients and the gig jobs look different. The week of March 1, we asked our team and gig workers where they’ve been and where they think we’re headed. We wanted to hear how jobs have shifted and/or changed during the pandemic and when they think normal will return. Here’s what we discovered:

COVID-19 protocols drive job orders

We asked if the mix of job orders changed last year. No surprise, 85.7% of our national staff said yes. Yet a surprise nearly 36% of the change in the mix came from new clients.

Where did those new clients come from? COVID regulations and protocols at hospitals and universities, housekeepers at hotels, and food service support at hospitals brought new temporary work. Think about those temperature screeners greeting us at doctor’s offices. Consider all those online shoppers and warehouse workers who have to fill the orders. Those are gig jobs that continue to be in demand. Our staff feedback related to new gig jobs confirms it:

  • 87.5% Janitorial/EVS related jobs
  • 64.3% Hospitality
  • 62.5% Food service
  • 50% Warehouse

The surprise in this list might be that hospitality work continued and continues. Keep in mind this sector includes servers in nursing homes or colleges. It isn’t just restaurants and bars. Essential workers are needed more than ever at places that include our schools and assisted living facilities.  

Gig Workers Appreciative

Gig workers who responded to our questions are positive and appreciative for the opportunity to continue working citing the mix of jobs available and length of shifts. These are people who want to work. One gig worker said, “Due to COVID a lot of things have changed, but we essential workers have stuck it out to make sure everything is safe.”

When will normal return?

We asked both gig workers and our national team leading offices in over 35 cities. Both groups said sometime in 2022 as their top choice. Still others are more optimistic ranking third quarter as their second choice.


39.29%    Sometime in 2022

30.36%    3Q 2021

12.5%      2Q 2021

17.86%    4Q 2021

0%            1Q 2021

LGC Gig Worker

35.6%   Sometime in 2022

22.29% 3Q 2021

21.05% 2Q 2021

13%       4Q 2021

8%         1Q 2021

Keep in mind, our poll only asked for feedback from the gig workers we serve. In total its estimated 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2020 did some type of gig work. We’re talking about roughly 57 million Americans that contribute more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy annually. Some economic pundits predict freelance workers will make up more than half of the U.S. workforce by 2023, when perhaps we’ll all feel “normal” again.

George Lessmeister is CEO and founder of LGC Hospitality, a staffing firm that works with hotel and restaurant leadership to place executives and temporary workers.

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