We’ve all heard about the rise of the on-demand gig economy. About one third of the United States workforce are freelancers. It signals a fundamental shift following the Global Financial Crisis where incomes stagnated and the size of the total labor pool contracted.
Rather than a traditional 9-5 workday, people are moving toward jobs that allow them flexibility and freedom. Whether that’s being an Uber driver or simply picking up short contracts at established offices, people are looking for the ability to work when and how they want. The explosion of on-demand marketplaces has helped match workers with gigs.
According to research commissioned by Xero, 41% of respondents reporting they’ve been using on-demand marketplaces to find freelancing work for a year or less, and just 24% reporting to have freelanced for more than two years.
The average freelancer in the U.S. is likely to be a millennial aged between 18 and 34 (45%), female (69%), living with someone else who has a full-time job (52%) and works between 20 and 40 hours a week.
For a whopping 96% of those surveyed, on-demand freelancing is a way to supplement either their existing income, or their spouse’s. According to the study, the majority (48%) earned between $2,000 and $50,000 a year freelancing, and just 4% brought home more than $50,000 a year. Just a third say they have the right amount of work.
With freelancing platforms gaining popularity around the world, technology is facilitating a shift in the workforce. Increasing competition, lack of income security and benefits, managing tax and financial affairs, tracking expenses and working solo were all listed as the greatest challenges which come with freelancing.
Regardless there is no shortage of people willing to compete for gigs. This new generation of worker is harnessing the significant benefits of freelancing.