Work-from-anywhere, the Great Resignation, hybrid work schedules…there is no doubt that the past year has brought us a lot of change in the way we all work. The workforce as a whole has reevaluated what is most important to them when it comes to their careers. It’s no surprise then that this past year has also seen an acceleration in the shift from 9-5 jobs to full-time freelance work. More and more people are seeing the benefits of choosing their own hours and projects. Overall, freelancers report more satisfaction with their jobs, their day-to-day work tasks, and their work-life balance.
The percentage of our workforce who now does freelance work full-time has skyrocketed. A new report released by UpWork shows just how fast this growth is occurring. A total of 35% of workers were full-time freelancers in 2021. That’s an increase from the 33.8% who were freelancers in 2020. They no longer want the constraints of working in an office with rigid schedules and commutes that cut into their time with family. Freelancing gives them that freedom.
Flexibility and Freedom are Key Motivators
When it comes to the reasons why such a large percentage of the US workforce is choosing to switch to freelance, 78% of freelancers cite ‘schedule flexibility’ as a key reason for freelancing, 73% cite location flexibility, and 73% say freelancing allows them to pursue work they find meaningful. It’s interesting to note that 68% of new freelancers say that taking ownership of their careers was the main reason they made the switch to freelancing. Freelancing offers professionals a chance to be in control of their careers in a way that cannot be matched by traditional 9-5, full-time employment.
And this trend shows no sign of stopping. Amid The Great Resignation this past year, more workers are considering freelance work in the future than ever before with 56% of non-freelancers saying they are likely to freelance in the future. As for those already freelancing? It seems they don’t have any plans to change their career paths with 9 in 10 freelancers believing that the “best days are ahead” for freelancing and 67% saying they are optimistic about their career in 2022.
Read the full Freelance Forward Economist Report by UpWork here.
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