Freelancers account for a larger portion of our workforce globally than ever before. Close to 60 million people are freelancing in the U.S. alone which accounts for 36 per cent of the total workforce. The rise is spurred by the increasing need for flexibility and the Great Resignation, according to a study by Upwork.
Data from another study by Worksome, which confirms the increase, also shows a spike in worker happiness among those who do contract work. “Globally, we’re seeing workers eschew the traditional job trajectory in favour of a career that can provide the flexibility and freedom of choice they desire,” states Worksome co-founder and CEO, Morten Petersen.
More than 72 per cent of those surveyed in the latter study consider themselves happier consulting versus staying in a full-time salaried position. Sixty-one per cent of freelancers have more free time than their 9-5 counterparts. For 78 per cent of freelance workers, job flexibility and work-life balance are the more important motivators upending the second-most important factor, money, by eight per cent.
Freelancers are also often out-earning their corporate salaries. Those freelancers who previously worked full-time reported a rise in income, with over half (53 per cent) saying they make more as a contract worker than they did as a permanent employee.
Corporations that have the foresight and flexibility to engage with this ever-growing pool of contracted talent will find themselves able to better adapt to the changing future of work, adds Morten. “Those that insist on clinging to the ‘traditional’ work structure will continue to struggle with hiring and retaining top talent.”
Organizations have to look at their corporate policies and make decisions around how they can best support their employees while continuing to meet business goals, says Christina Petersen, Co-founder and Chief People Officer of the company. “What we’re seeing across corporations is a push to return to ‘life before COVID’ - a goal that’s misaligned with the changing sentiment toward work and ignorant of the challenges that continue to impact modern workers. We’re at a keystone moment in history that will continue to shape the future of work for decades to come,” Christina adds.
There are big advantages available for companies willing to evolve and integrate flexibility into their workforce structure, cites Christina.