In recent years, a shift in the traditional work structure has given rise to a new era of professional independence – the era of freelancing. The freelance workforce has experienced exponential growth, reshaping how we work and challenging the traditional nine-to-five job.
Freelancing is no longer considered to be a niche market, instead, it has become a viable career choice for millions around the country. Modern professionals increasingly value flexibility and autonomy in their work and freelancing offers individuals the freedom to choose projects that align with their skills and interests and working hours that align with their daily lives.
On the flip side, companies and their managers are quickly recognizing the benefits of tapping into a diverse pool of talent. Freelancers bring unique skills and specialized knowledge to the table, allowing businesses to access expertise on-demand. The ability to quickly assemble teams with specific skills enables companies to respond swiftly and stay ahead of the competition. This flexibility is a key factor in growth for companies of all sizes.
What’s Ahead For The Freelance Workforce?
All of these factors mean that freelancers continue to play a crucial role in the US workforce as we evaluate what the Future of Work looks like for us all. This month, Upwork released its 10th annual Freelance Forward Research Report, which shows just how popular freelancing has become. One of the largest insights to come from the study: an incredible one million new people have decided to join the freelance workforce every year for the past decade!
Some additional highlights from the report:
- 64 million Americans representing 38% of the U.S. workforce performed freelance work in 2023, up from 60 million last year.
- 52% of all Gen Zers performed freelance work in 2023, as did 44% of Millennials.
- American freelancers contributed approximately $1.27 trillion in annual earnings to the U.S. economy. That equates to a 78% increase in just a decade.
- Over 85% of freelancers say the best days are ahead for freelancing.
As more and more people decide to freelance, businesses that embrace flexibility will thrive in the ever-changing landscape of the modern workforce. Make sure your business is prepared to adapt to a freelance workforce!