Most Comprehensive Measurement of Independent Workforce in a Decade Shows 34% of U.S. Workers are Freelancing
Technology is making it easier to find freelance work, 69% of freelancers said
New York and San Francisco -- More than one in three workers -- 53 million Americans -- are now freelancing, according to the most comprehensive survey of the U.S. independent workforce in nearly a decade.
The study, “Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce,” was conducted by the independent research firm Edelman Berland and commissioned by Freelancers Union in partnership with Elance-oDesk.
“Freelancing is the new normal -- and this survey shows that America’s new workforce is big, crucial, and here to stay,” said Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union.
“The 53 million Americans who are freelancing already contribute more than $700 billion to our national economy and help U.S. businesses compete and find the skills that they need. This is just the start: The connected era we live in is liberating our workforce. The barriers to being a freelance professional -- finding work, collaborating with clients and getting paid on time -- are going away,” said Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance-oDesk.
The economic impact of the 53 million Americans who are freelancing is significant -- collectively, they contribute more than $715 billion in freelance earnings to the national economy. And that impact is expected to grow in the coming years.
Findings show that:
FIVE FREELANCER SEGMENTS
The study identified five segments of freelancers, covering the diverse range of people who are freelancing today:
Mikki Morrissette of Minneapolis spent more than a decade in corporate publishing in New York City before switching over to become a freelance writer and communications specialist 15 years ago.
"I am so much happier in this new stage of my career," Morrissette said. "As a single mom with two kids, and an itch for travel, I love the flexibility. I get to choose the projects I work on and mostly work with other eclectic entrepreneurs like me. I love being free to pursue my interests where they take me."
About the “Freelancing in America” Study:
For the study, more than 5,050 U.S. working adults over the age of 18 were surveyed online between July 19, 2014 – July 31, 2014. Of those, 1,720 were freelancers and 3,332 were non-freelancers. Results are weighted to ensure demographic representation in line with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. The study has an overall margin of error of ±1.38% at the 95% level of confidence.
About Freelancers Union
Freelancers Union’s 250,000 members believe all workers should have the freedom to build meaningful, connected, and independent lives – backed by a system of mutual and public support. More than one in three working Americans is an independent worker. That's 53 million people – and growing. They are lawyers and nannies, graphic designers and temps. Freelancers Union serves the needs of this growing independent sector.
Elance-oDesk is the world’s largest online workplace. More than 2.5 million businesses and 8 million freelancers tap into www.Elance.com and www.oDesk.com to work together via the Internet. As our increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, talent—like software, shopping and communications before it—is shifting to the cloud. This shift is freeing professionals from set-time-and-place work, while also making it faster and easier for businesses to hire. Elance-oDesk is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in San Francisco, California, and Oslo, Norway.