NPR Special Series: The Rise Of The Contract Workers: Income insecurity and lack of benefits are a concern
An NPR/Marist poll sheds light on a fast-growing workforce sector: contract workers. One out of every five jobs is held by a contract worker. While many enjoy the flexibility, the jobs are unsteady.
NPR's recent poll shows 20% of US workers are contract laborers. They work project to project and without employer-provided health insurance, retirement plan, pension, or other benefits and worker protections. Experts predict half the workforce will fall into this category within the next decade. We need to start having a conversation about what the rise of the contingent workforce will impact society.
Driven by a desire for flexibility and control, US Freelance workforce is growing faster than the overall US workforce. What can employers learn from this trend?
Upwork and Freelancers Union today released the results of “Freelancing in America: 2017. The fourth annual study estimates nearly 36% of the U.S. workforce freelances and the trend is growing.
Freelancers* are playing a bigger role in corporate work. Employers who haven't already should start thinking about policies, practices, and place implications. But they might also consider what they can learn from the trend:
- 63% of freelancers choose to freelance (versus doing so out of necessity). Top drivers include freedom, choice, and flexibility. Half say they wouldn't even consider a traditional job.
- 55% of freelancers participated in skills training last year compared to only 30% of non-freelancers.
- About half of full-time freelancers are thinking about the implications of automation, compared to only 18% of employees.
- Millennials are embracing freelance work more than any other generation; nearly half do so.
- 70% of freelancers would prefer taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on their own (rather than through an employer).
- Part-time freelancing is down; full-time is up 70%.
- The percent of those making more than $75k/year (36%) has increased over 100% in the last 3 years.
In short, people want flexibility and control and are willing to take care of themselves if given the opportunity.
* Freelance population comprised of 35% hybrid workers, 31% independent contractors, 23% moonlighters, 6% freelance business owners, and 6% temp workers)