With extra People taking freelance careers full-time and Gen-Z employees turning to impartial work as a result of it’s exhausting to search out jobs, freelancing is changing into a much more essential contributor to the U.S. financial system than previously, in line with new analysis. And with the pandemic protecting the vast majority of freelancers absolutely occupied, the expansion reveals no indicators of slowing.
The 59 million People who freelanced previously yr now generate a collective $1.2 trillion in annual earnings, a rise of twenty-two% since final yr, in line with Upwork’s Freelance Forward Survey. These freelancers make up 36% of the U.S. workforce.
“The flexibleness and remote-focused nature of freelancing are actually on show proper now,” says Adam Ozimek, chief economist of Upwork. “That flexibility is absolutely useful to employees and shoppers.”
Edelman Intelligence surveyed greater than 6,000 U.S. respondents from June 15-July 7 on behalf of Upwork.
Among the many key findings:
Extra freelancers are going full-time: The share of impartial employees who earn a dwelling via full-time freelancing is now 36%, up 8 proportion factors since 2019. And 47% of freelancers view impartial work as a long-term profession selection.
Freelancers are making extra money: 75% of those that stop a standard job to freelance say they earn the identical or greater than they did. Amongst freelancers surveyed 61% mentioned they’ve the quantity of labor they need or extra. And plenty of are freelancing extra regularly and serving extra shoppers than final yr.
Youthful employees are flocking to freelancing: Half of the Gen-Z workforce—these ages 18 to 22—has freelanced previously yr, and amongst them, a couple of third (36%) began for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a very robust time to get your first job,” says Ozimek. “Plenty of our freelancers are younger, educated and in search of one thing to do. The brand new freelancers are youthful, extra educated and doing expert work.”
The pandemic has created alternatives for some freelancers: Based on the survey, 12% of the U.S. workforce began freelancing within the wake of COVID-19. Many of those new freelancers are expert professionals, they usually are typically a part of industries reminiscent of know-how. For some, freelancing is a job-replacement.
“We’re seeing numerous new freelancers who began doing it after being laid off or shedding a job,” says Ozimek.
Many freelancers noticed little affect to their way of life: Freelancers reported a decrease price of disruption to their general way of life, wellbeing, psychological well being, and monetary wellbeing from the pandemic than different employees. Some have suggested their shoppers on how you can work remotely.
Some freelancers are hurting: The analysis discovered that 10% of the U.S. workforce “paused” freelancing, as alternatives dried up within the pandemic. Many have been in industries affected most by social distancing, working in non-remote conditions.
“The freelancers who can work remotely and have been working remotely earlier than the pandemic are doing higher than freelancers who have been working non-remotely,” says Ozimek. “Going ahead, we’re going to see much more freelancers working remotely.”
Nevertheless, although some freelancers couldn’t work remotely, many landed on their ft, with 51% of those “paused” freelancers counting on different sources of labor. Amongst such “paused” freelancers, 88% mentioned they’re more likely to attempt freelancing once more sooner or later.
Many view freelancing as the proper pre-retirement profession. Freelancers ages 55 and up make up 25% of all freelancers, the analysis discovered. They’re concentrated in expert and project-based work. Amongst these freelancers, 65% see it as a great way to transition to retirement.
Freelancing is attracting quite a lot of employees who need flexibility: 48% of freelancers mentioned they’re caregivers, and 33% have a incapacity of their family. “The flexibleness it supplies permits them to suit work into days that work for them,” says Ozimek. “If you do not know precisely when you may work, freelancing supplies flexibility.”