Around 33% of the workforce in America is freelance. That’s right. They work from home or for themselves. They are living the new American dream. The dream of the four hour work week. The dream of working from the beach or in their pj’s. I too am living that dream.
One in three Americans is a freelancer, making the sector a critical part of the labor market.
- Nearly 54 million Americans participated in some form of independent work in 2015. That’s more than 33 percent of the entire U.S. workforce and is an increase of 700,000 workers over the previous year.
- Some researchers project that half of the working U.S. population will move into the gig economy within the next five years.
- About 1 in 12 U.S. households — more than 10 million people — rely on independent work for more than half of
The U.S. isn’t the only place where the gig economy is thriving; the same phenomena is occurring across the globe.
- Half of the United Kingdom’s working population will be self-employed in the next five years, estimates say.
- The European Union saw a 45 percent increase in the number of independent workers from 2012 to 2013.
- Independent workers comprise the fastest growing group in the European Union labor market.
- India’s independent workforce, the second largest in the world at 15 million, fills about 40 percent of the world’s freelance jobs.
Although the gig economy spans all age groups, Millennials make up the largest portion.
- More than one-third of Millennials are independent workers.
- In 2015, Millennials became the largest demographic age group in the workforce.
- 32 percent of Millennials believe they will be working “mainly flexible hours” in the future.
Mobile devices have untethered workers from their desks; social media now connects people across borders, and online freelance marketplaces make finding work easier.
- 87 percent of Millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side, night or day.
- Nearly half (45 percent) use personal smartphones for work (vs. 18 percent for older generations).
- Some 41 percent are likely to download applications to use for work purposes in the next 12 months and use their own money to pay for them.
- 80 percent use social media as a means of finding work.