The Freelance Generation is Redefining Professional Norms


Freelancers, who made up a mere 6% of the workforce in 1989, are expected to represent 43% of the workforce by 2020. So how did we get here? According to a recent survey by LinkedIn, there are a few key factors that lead to this explosion of a contingent workforce.

  • The average length of unemployment has extended. The average duration of unemployment in America has extended from 8.5 weeks in 1980, to 12 weeks in 2000, to 25.1 weeks today.
  • Pension plans begin to become a thing of the past. The number of full-time workers at U.S. private sector firms enrolled in defined benefit pension plans has dropped from 60% in 1982 to a mere 14% today, equating to a decrease in retirement savings for many.
  • Cost of living spikes while incomes deflate. The median family income fell 8% from 2000 to 2012. In contrast, during that same period, the average price of rent went up 13%
  • Automation threatens jobs. Reports suggest that recent developments in machine learning will put as much as 47% of American jobs at risk within the next two decades.


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