40% of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020
Recent debates over telecommuting raise important issues - not just about workplace flexibility or working from home, but about the fundamental nature of work itself. By 2020, more than 40% of the US workforce will be “contingent workers”, according to a study conducted by software company Intuit. That’s more than 60 million people.
Following the recent economic downturn, the employment rate has recovered at a frustratingly slow pace, except in one area - temporary, contingent, and independent workers. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of temporary employees rose by 29%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This increase in temporary workers is not just in the high-tech sector but covers all types of jobs in a wide range of industries.
Why is freelancing the future trend?
Although freelancing isn’t restricted to just high-tech jobs, the rise in freelancing has technology to thank. One of the many reasons why the number of freelancers is rapidly increasing is because it has become so much easier to telecommute effectively. With the ability to share and collaborate on projects through high definition video chats, screen shares, and data transfers, working remotely is practically the same as actually being in the office.
The cost of living and accommodation in major cities is another key factor. Many people have no choice but to live further and further away from their workplace and face a daily commute of one or two hours to get to the office. Using this additional 10-20 hours every week in a more productive way and saving time, money, energy and brainpower by working from home is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
Our definition of “workplace” will never be the same again
Companies and employees share common goals - using technology and mobility to maximize efficiency, productivity, innovation and well-being. Hiring independent workers on project-based pay allows the employer to closely track their work without running the risk of recruiting someone full time. The freelancer in return gets schedule flexibility and the opportunity to work on different projects at the same time, and the freedom of not being tied to a single employer.
Today, the opportunities for freelancers and project-based work are exploding, as are applications specifically used to find, track, and pay them. The development of new tools allow people to work independently across industries like software, design, marketing, legal services, architecture, healthcare, and engineering. As long as they have a decent Wi-Fi connection, most people can work from just about anywhere.