Are Freelancers Taking Over the Workforce?

Typing on a keyboardWith young adults having an increasingly difficult time finding employment, The American Genius reports that freelance work is now on the rise instead of the traditional 9-to-5 job. In fact, currently, freelancers account for 34% of the American workforce.

While some baby boomers are also freelancing as part-time consultants, many Generation X-ers and Millennials are full-time freelance entrepreneurs.

This is in part a result of improved technology allowing for more remote work, and in just four years, Inuit expects freelancing to exceed 40% of the workforce.

Freelancing has a number of desired advantages. In one survey, 61% of freelancers reported they want control over their own hours, while only 38% choose freelancing as a means to make more money. It’s not often freelancers make substantially more money than full-time employees, considering they must take on overhead and taxes themselves.

One unfortunate aspect of this line of work, however, is that roughly 50% of freelancers lack a steady income and experience trouble finding work. One-third are constantly worrying they won’t get paid on time.

Yet as compared to even four years ago, freelancing is now a far more respectable career choice.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the rates of individuals choosing the path of freelancing may increase even more than projected thanks to a pilot program called LinkedIn ProFinder, from the professional social networking website LinkedIn.

By asking prospective employers the type of work they’re looking for, when they need it, and how much they will pay, freelancers can respond with proposals to positions they’re interested in.

LinkedIn will offer the service for free as they use it to gather data about the field.

LinkedIn’s ProFinder will be competing with rival programs, such as TaskRabbit, Gigwalk, Freelancer, and Upwork. The professional social network hopes to help its user base of 400 million people to overcome this competition.

“We have a growing number of freelance and independent professionals on our platform who are looking for short-term gigs or new business leads,” said Vaibhav Goel, group manager for ProFinder.

Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are 15 million freelance workers in the United States. To put this into perspective, the U.S. plastic industry, one of the largest industries around the globe, only employs approximately one million workers.

Some studies project there will be as many as 60 million freelancers by 2020.

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