Freelance Work is on the Rise
Not all of them make their living exclusively as freelancers. The number includes 14.3 million workers who would be called “moonlighters” —people who have a primary job that pays benefits, and supplement their income with extra work. This might include a full-time tech support worker at a corporation who also does consulting with private clients on the side, or a web developer who takes on projects for non-profits in the evening.
Of the remaining 38.7 million, 21.1 million are what the survey calls “traditional” freelancers who do temporary work on a project basis. Some 9.3 million “diversified workers” have multiple sources of income, which can include a part-time job, like working 20 hours a week at a dentist’s office. Another 5.5 million are “temporary” staffers who work for a single employer, but not on a permanent basis with benefits, like a business strategy consultant working for a start-up on a contract that can include months of employment. Then, there are the 2.8 million “business owners” who have between one and five employees, like social marketing guru, Ivan, who hires a team of other social marketers to build a small agency, but still identifies himself as a freelancer.
Horowitz, Executive Director of the Freelancers Union. “The connected era we live in is liberating our workforce. The barriers to being a freelance professional—finding work, collaborating with clients and getting paid on time—are going away”, says Horowitz.
- Freelancers are seeing more demand for their work
Twice as many freelancers have seen an increase in demand in the past year as have seen a decrease (32% increase, versus 15% decrease). Technology is helping freelancers
- Technology is helping freelancers
Nearly seven in 10 (69%) freelancers said technology had made it easier to find freelance work, and 42% have done freelance work via the Internet. As demand increases, so does reputation
- As demand increases, so does reputation
Almost two out of three (65%) freelancers said freelancing as a career path is more respected today than it was three years ago. The potential for earnings is driving growth
- The potential for earnings is driving growth
80% of non-freelancers surveyed said they would be willing to do work outside of their primary job if it was available and enabled them to make more money. There’s room for growth
- There’s room for growth
38% of freelancers expect to increase hours in the next year versus 12% who expect their hours to decrease. Workers under 35 are more likely to freelance
- Workers under 35 are more likely to freelance
38% of Millennials are freelancing (compared to 32% of those over 35) and Millennials are also most optimistic about the future of the freelance job market, with 82% saying that the best days are ahead (compared to 74% of those over 35).
Survey respondent, Mikki Morrissette, commented that she spent more than a decade in corporate publishing in New York City before switching over to become a freelance writer and communications specialist 15 years ago. “I am so much happier in this new stage of my career”, says Morrissette. “As a single mom with two kids, and an itch for travel, I love the flexibility. I get to choose the projects I work on and mostly work with other eclectic entrepreneurs like me. I love being free to pursue my interests where they take me.”