The way people work is changing and will continue in the next few decades—but that’s old news. The greater implications of the freelancing trend means that as the youngest generation, Gen Z, enters the workforce, they are the most freelancing-inclined generation yet, according to new data from the “Freelancing in America: 2017” study.

Freelancing as a choice and preference

Instead of choosing a traditional, corporate role, Gen Z is choosing to freelance more than any other generation—73 percent of this generation said they originally started freelancing by choice rather than necessity, compared to 66 percent of Baby Boomers and 62 percent of Millennials. Plus nearly half (46 percent) of working adult Gen Zers freelanced last year.

A tech-first talent mindset

For digital natives, finding work online is second nature, especially for those who grew up in a fourth screen world. That tech-dominant approach applied to work as well. Gen Z believes technology is integral to finding freelance work. Being able to work anytime anywhere as long as they have a computer and WiFi gives them the flexibility to work from a co-working space, coffee shop or open office.

Skilling for the future

As skills become increasingly specialized, hiring managers agree that companies will need to invest in reskilling to prepare talent for the jobs of tomorrow. Some workers may be concerned that the work they do will not exist in 20 years due to reskilling or automation.

Yet freelancers are constantly reskilling to be well versed in the latest trends and technologies. Among those freelancing, Gen Z is reskilling more than any other generation—and they’re among the least concerned about the impact of automation, with less than one-third (31 percent) saying it will impact their livelihood.

Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Gender, Education and Work, says,

More than any other generation, members of Gen Z are seeking work they’re passionate about that also affords them freedom and flexibility. It’s important that companies adjust their hiring strategies in order to work with the best talent, which accounts for more people than Gen X and Baby Boomers and will be the majority of the workforce in the next five years.”

Get details of the full Freelancing in America report >>