Independent Workers on the Increase in the U.S.

By November 6, 2014Uncategorized

The number of independent workers in the U.S. has been projected to grow from nearly 30 million today to 40 million in 2019, according to the 4th Annual State of Independence Report by MBO Partners, a firm that provides office support to independent workers. What's an independent worker? MBO Partners defines them as consultants, contractors, freelancers, temps, on-call workers, self-employed, "side-giggers," and small business owners who employ fewer than four employees. "Side-giggers" is the newest addition to the independents list, also known as those who work less than 15 hours a week.


Whether working towards financial independence, supplementing a salary or transitioning to shorter work day or work week, people who make the plunge are doing so on their own account, according to MBO Partners, who found that only one in seven independent workers chose that lifestyle due to layoff or illness. As this trend develops, businesses will need to further adjust to accommodate and incorporate independent workers into the workforce, and lenders will need to extend more opportunities to fund the ambitions of the growing number of self-employed.


Independents: Who and Why?

The picture of an independent worker is increasingly showing older Americans, with 44% of the current independent workforce over 50, boomers, even workers into their late 60s. Financial stability, a well-developed expertise and established networks for referrals lead employees from full-time positions. Also, independent work fits into lifestyles versus a professional fitting his or her desired lifestyle into a traditional job. With independence comes autonomy, flexibility and control.


For businesses, hiring freelance or consulting folks can lower overhead costs. It reduces salary and benefit costs, can reduce the amount of physical space and office supplies needed. Workforce size can increase or decrease depending on workload.

Ultimately, it's about satisfaction. The study reports 82% of responders being satisfied, despite worries over workflow, consistent earnings, job security and retirement concerns.

Taking the plunge depends on resources, like this How-to Guide to Starting a Side Gig After 50, confidence, a solid network, and a plan. How are you preparing to join the 30 million independent workers?

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