Companies, Connecting talent, Freelancers

New Research: On Independent Workers

My friends at Emergent Research just came out with their 5th Annual Report on America’s Independent Workforce. Extremely valuable information for companies thinking about how to incorporate Giggers into their work force.


  • The number of independent workers aged 21 and up stands at 30.2 million in 2015, divided between 17.8 million Full-Time Independents and 12.4 million Part-Time Independents.
  • There are another 11.9 million occasional independents, bringing the total number of adults in America working independently (either on a regular or ad hoc basis) to 42.1 million.
  • 2.9 million (or 16%) of the 17.8 million Full-Time Independents reported that they earned more than $100,000, up 45% from 2 million in 2011.
  • Only 9% of Full-Time Independents said they were doing independent work for reasons beyond their control, down from 15% in 2011.
  • The single most-often cited factor for working independently was “the ability to control my own schedule.” (61%)
  • 72% of Independents report “doing something I like is more important than making the most money,” while 65% say “flexibility is more important than making the most money.”
  • Nearly half, 45%, report that they make more money working on their own than they would in a traditional job.
  • In 2014, independent workers generated more than $1.15 trillion of revenue—equal to nearly 7% of U.S. GDP.
  • 16% of the self-employed workforce, or about 2.8 million, plan to build a bigger business over the next 2-3 years.
  • By 2020, the number of independent workers in America is expected to grow to 37.9 million.
  • In 2015, 43% of those currently working full-time as Independents report that they feel more secure working independently, up from 33% in 2011.
  • The percentage of independent workers who are worried about their future has decreased markedly, from 40% in 2011 to 27% in 2015.
  • Millennials accounted for 30% of Full-Time Independents in 2015—up from 12 percent in 2011.
  • 64% of women said flexibility was a key reason they chose to become independent, compared with 53% of men. •
  • 43% of Part-Time Independents say they are working solo to pursue a passion or interest.

This last point is key and should provide a wake up call to employers — that they could loose more and more employees if they don’t try connecting ‘the work’ to what interests the employees.

Leave a Reply