Most freelancers want to be independent workers. Sixty percent of respondents said they were freelancing by choice, as opposed to being driven by necessity. This was a significant increase of seven percentage points since last year.
Interestingly, freelancers at the far ends of the age spectrum are the most likely to say they are freelancing voluntarily. Among those 65 and up, 65% said they had chosen to freelance, while among those 18-34, 61% said the same thing.
Once they try freelancing, many workers would never go back to a traditional job. Half of full-time freelancers said they would not accept a traditional job, no matter how much it paid.
The mindset of these freelancers has implications for a consumer economy. Although freelancers often make more than they did in past jobs, they need more savings to cushion them against hazards such as income instability and non paying clients–which may lead to different spending patterns.
There is also a new trend – people are starting to really have different values. They are not going to buy the big house and car and things that require a steady paycheck to maintain. They are not consuming as much.
Freelancers are spending more hours at their businesses. Although many freelancers in the survey are running their businesses part-time, the number of hours they are investing is climbing. Last year they averaged 15 hours a week. Now it’s nearly 19 hours a week. That is a substantial leap. And given that some of the freelancers surveyed are moonlighters, it could indicate that more workers are deciding that they will be better off directing their discretionary effort to their own business than to their primary job.
Millennials are embracing freelancing. In a sign of what the future of work may look like, the young dominate the freelance economy. A whopping 16% of freelancers are ages 18 to 34 and 27% are age 25 to 34. Among millennials, 87% are likely to recommend freelancing to their friends and family.
Significantly lower percentages of GenXers and Boomers are freelancing. Among those ages 35 to 54, only 10% of workers are freelancing. For those ages 55 to 59, 7% are freelancing, and those ages 60 and up, 12% are.