A majority of the US workforce will freelance by 2027, according to findings in the “Freelancing in America Study: 2017” released today by online staffing marketplace Upwork and the Freelancers Union.
The fourth annual study estimates that 57.3 million Americans are freelancing (36 percent of the U.S. workforce) and contribute approximately $1.4 trillion annually to the economy, an increase of almost 30% since last year. Freelancers are predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing.
- The freelance workforce grew at a rate three times faster than the US workforce overall since 2014.
- 54% of the US workforce is not very confident that the work they do today is likely to exist in 20 years.
- AI and robotics: 49% of full-time freelancers indicate their work has already been affected by AI and robotics compared to only 18% full-time non-freelancers.
- Most freelancers, 59%, started freelancing within the last three years.
- Younger freelancers are driving the acceleration in freelancing. The survey found 47% of those ages 18 to 34 freelanced in this year compared to 38% in 2014. The nine-point difference is the highest among all age group, and the percentage of freelancers fell among those ages 45 and up.
- 69% strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive in this year’s study compared to 63% last year.
- More people are freelancing by choice with 63% of freelancers doing so by choice in 2017 compared to 53% in 2014.
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