Success Magazine

By Kristen Fischer / October 20, 2015

How freelancing is shifting the American workforce

Freelancing is not just a hip, seemingly passing trend. It’s here to stay, and it’s affecting everyone. Freelancers—the independent contractors, the moonlighters, the temporary workers—are shifting the entire workforce.

Upwork and Freelancers Union teamed up to produce the “Freelancing in America: 2015” survey, which was conducted by Edelman Berland. In addition to statistics on things like how many freelancers there are (one in three Americans is freelancing in some way—that’s about 34 percent of us), the report provides insights into why people freelance and how it’s changing how America works.

“Americans are starting to have a different view of careers,” Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancers Union, says. It’s not all “artisanal yuppies in their pajamas.”

She says people are figuring out different ways to make money, and they’re finding that it doesn’t necessarily mandate working a traditional 9-to-5 job. “Americans are starting to have a different view of careers,” she says. It’s not all “artisanal yuppies in their pajamas.”

Kenneth Matos, senior director of research at the Families and Work Institute, says that people aren’t necessarily seeking to telecommute, either—they just want that flexibility. (His group recently released a report that found telecommuting works best in moderation.)

“They want the ability to have control over their schedule and workplace so they can achieve all of their goals,” he says. Those goals can include having time with family or spending less time traveling to work on a daily basis.


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