While it’s been something of an open secret among independents that their work-style choice fosters the achievement of life goals, there is now empirical evidence that supports this. The events of the past few years have prompted many people to reexamine work in relation to other areas of their lives. As a result, the quest for better work-life balance, the ability to pursue personal passions, and attention to good health and wellness has taken center stage.
We saw a clear trend toward aligning work with key life priorities as a characteristic of The Great Realization and extended our examination in our 2022 State of Independence report. But we didn’t stop there. Our report, Life Goals: Exploring the Great Realization in Depth, reflects a deeper dive into the connection between independence and quality of life. The report finds that independents exceed the U.S. workforce overall when it comes to life goals such as spending enough time with family, leading a fulfilling life and getting the most out of life.
Independence Can Help Achieve Life Goals
The report is the result of a collaboration between MBO and Connie Steele, future of work and life expert, and her firm, Flywheel Associates. As field experts with a proven approach and methodology for studying life goals, they have a broad pool of U.S. workers in their sample set. This enabled us to compare MBO’s independent worker survey study results with their overall workforce population. This comparison reinforces the idea that independents are happier, healthier, and more in control of their lives than traditional employees.
Steele’s research shows that American workers’ top three stated life goals are: spending enough time with their family, leading a fulfilling life, and getting the most out of life. In all these categories, a higher share of U.S. independent workers report achieving these life goals versus the U.S. workforce:
- Spending time with their families: 63% of independents versus 55% of U.S. workers overall
- Leading a fulfilling life: 61% of independents versus 54% overall
- Getting the most out of life: 57% of independents versus 52% overall
These results likely reflect the work-life flexibility that independent work allows, which is a key reason people report choosing to be independent workers.
There is only one career goal where traditional work overshadows independent work. Earning a steady income—a precursor to financial security–can be one of the biggest challenges of independence. The effort to develop a steady pipeline of predictable income is likely why traditional job holders report higher satisfaction with their income than independent workers.
What Does This Mean for Enterprises?
This report is a powerful reminder that a significant portion of the workforce—particularly those with in-demand skills—will continue to choose the control, satisfaction, and wealth-creation opportunities that independence provides. Top talent is no longer content to be an employee. They want to work for themselves and will gravitate to companies offering rich financial and professional rewards to independent contractors. Attracting and retaining high-value independent professionals with business-critical skills means acknowledging the importance of life goals, becoming a Client of Choice, and effectively integrating them into the work experience.
Download the full Life Goals report here.