October 17, 2017 at https://blog.freelancersunion.org
An independent, annual study commissioned by Freelancers Union & Upwork reports that Freelancers are on track to be the majority of the workforce within a decade, and they’re increasingly more likely to be on the cutting edge of their industries as AI and automation technology transform every part of the economy.
In fact, freelancers are growing so fast as a share of the overall workforce that we’re projecting independent workers will be a majority of the U.S. workforce in just a decade. America’s 57.3 million freelancers contribute $1.4 trillion to the economy, an increase of almost 30% from the previous year.
Freelancers are navigating this new economy by adapting, learning, and re-tooling. The entire workforce is being transformed by automation and artificial intelligence, but freelancers are more aware of these changes and are much more likely to have taken steps to proactively update their skills.
Policy makers have not been as quick to adapt. Freelancers want a voice, and a large majority of freelancers would be willing to cross party lines if a candidate supported their interests.
Freelancers, like all workers, are experiencing challenges with debt, saving, and accessing affordable benefits. But freelancers are uniquely challenged by income predictability. They are looking for choice and portability when it comes to benefits -- and they don’t want it to be tied to a single employer.
But more and more people are opting in to the freedom and independence of the freelance life. As the stability of working for a traditional 9-5 employer has started to wane, freelancers are embracing a new way of working - and they see more stability in having diverse income streams.
The world of work is changing, and freelancers are at the heart of our new economy. As the workforce experiences challenges like never before, it’s up to use to envision and build a new support system to make sure independent workers are able to thrive.