There is much useful information to mine from the Upwork/Freelancers Union Freelancing In America: 2017 survey, conducted by Edelman Intelligence, with that caveat that this is industry-supporting research.
The concern over healthcare, savings, and retirement services expressed by freelancers remains the psychological barrier to people’s embrace of the on-demand economy. Currently, it still looks like many people grudgingly accept that they must freelance.
Most notable findings reveal:
Freelancers are better prepared for the future – As work changes, 54 percent of the U.S. workforce said they’re not very confident that work they do will exist in 20 years. Reskilling is therefore critical. 55 percent of freelancers participated in skill-related education in the last six months versus only 30 percent of non-freelancers.
The majority of the U.S. workforce will soon freelance – At its current growth rate, we will reach this milestone by 2027.
People are increasingly freelancing by choice – Asked whether they started freelancing more by choice or necessity, 63 percent of freelancers said by choice — up 10 points (from 53 percent) since 2014.
Stability is being redefined – Freelancers increasingly think that having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than one employer (63 percent agree, up 10 points since 2016) and have an average of 4.5 clients per month.
While finances are a challenge for all, freelancers experience a unique concern — income predictability. The study found that, with the ebbs and flows of freelancing, full-time freelancers dip into savings more often (63 percent at least once per month versus 20 percent of full-time non-freelancers).
Source: Freelancers predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing, annual “Freelancing in America” study finds | Press, News & Media Coverage