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Brief Published: 10 Oct 2019

US Workforce: Seizing the Freelancer Opportunity

Extra
The number of long-term freelancers has grown exponentially since 2014

Some 57 million Americans worked as freelancers this year, representing over a third (35%) of the US workforce – according to the latest Freelancing in America (FIA) report. As the number of freelancers continues to grow, there is a cross-industry opportunity to provide products, platforms and support for these remote workers.

Released in October 2019, the FIA report also revealed that the number of long-term freelancers grew from 18.5 million in 2014 to 28.5 million in 2019. For the first time in the survey’s six-year history, the number of remote workers who consider freelancing a long-term career choice has risen to 50%, compared to the other half who view it as merely a temporary way to make money.

One reason for the increase is the growing number of Gen Zers (aged 10 to 24) who are entering the global workforce and championing flexi-working. Some 53% of older Gen Zers (aged 18 to 22) freelanced this year, ahead of 40% of millennials (aged 25 to 38), 31% of Gen Xers (aged 39 to 54) and 29% of baby boomers (aged 55 to 73). Businesses would be wise to prepare for this influx of employees who see freelancing as an entry-point into working life.

Freelancer income contributes almost $1tn to the economy, amounting to 5% of GDP, so brands should explore ways to help maximise remote workers’ productivity and ease their pain points.

Launched in May 2019, US co-working app Codi is doing just that, providing home-from-home working spaces – ideal for the 63% of freelancers who feel less productive in a traditional office. Users can either search for living spaces belonging to people in their neighbourhood, or rent out areas of their own homes which would otherwise be unused during the day.

Other key ways brands might respond to consumers’ growing demand for flexible working include adaptable deliveries, financial planning tools or even changing hours of service. See our 2017 Macro Trend The Work/Life Revolution for more strategies to target this flourishing market.

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