Five Trends Driving Independent Workforce Growth

By MBO Partners | January 12, 2021

Share
Five Trends Driving Independent Workforce Growth

Our 2020 State of Independence in America research explores the cyclical and structural forces that have contributed to, encouraged, and shaped the American independent workforce. Despite the setback that the COVID-19 pandemic had on all workers in the US economy in 2020, we anticipate a strong future of independent work.

Five years down the road, we expect the total number of independent workers in America to rise to 45.6 million—up from 38.2 million today. There are a number of forces driving this growth, five of which we explore in more detail below.

Technology Enables and Empowers Independent Work

The evolution of technology over the past few years makes it easier than ever before to start and operate an independent business. Tools like online marketplaces make it easier for independent professionals to find clients to do business with, distributed work tools better facilitate remote work, and the internet and social media enable independents to communicate and market their skillsets. At the same time, businesses across the world are realizing the potential of remote work and the increased ease of incorporating independent workers into their teams.

Business Agility

Specialized, in-demand skills aren’t easy to come by. Truly talented workers are scarce and it is often a costly endeavor for organizations to search for and hire the right person for their needs. Because independent professionals can be brought on board on an as-needed basis and by definition provide a specialized set of skills, more businesses are recognizing the benefits independents can provide. Especially amid an uncertain future and recession, business must shift their strategies to be more flexible and agile. Independent workers are increasingly becoming the solution they are looking for.

Work Flexibility

People who work independently do so because of the autonomy, control, and flexibility independent work provides. In 2020, 76% of independents said they were very satisfied with working independently. We see this trend hold true across many demographics. Highly-skilled professionals who are able to fill gaps for organizations experiencing talent shortages, Baby Boomers who are able to carry on a flexible career post-retirement, and Millennials and Gen Z who embrace the “work to live” ethos.

Supplemental Income

Many workers today are looking for ways to supplement their income due to stagnant wages, fewer middle-wage jobs, and increasing healthcare, education, childcare, and retirement costs. Independent work gives people the opportunity to bring in additional income that helps to offset these near-term costs. As needs for supplemental income continue, we expect to see part-time and occasional independent work continue to grow.

Supportive Infrastructure

Lastly, people working independently today have an incredibly robust infrastructure of products, services, and programs that make it easier, cheaper, and less risky to go out on their own. On one hand, low-cost, Internet-based tools such as Basecamp, Google Drive, and Zoom can help with everything from billing and project management to sales and marketing. On the other end of the spectrum, services like those offered by MBO can provide personal support to establish a corporate structure, manage financial transactions, and connect with new project opportunities.

To learn more about the independent workforce and trends we’re seeing, check out our 2020 State of Independence in America report.

Related Posts

The Great Realization
| 3 MIN READ

Why the Great Resignation is Really the Great Realization

January 5, 2022

As a hiring manager, you know first-hand the pain of the Great Resignation. This “post-” pandemic economic trend of employees resigning in droves has hit every industry. In fact, a record-breaking 11 million jobs were vacant at the end of October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  But people aren’t leaving the workforce…

State of Independence
| 5 MIN READ

The Great Realization: New Data Looks at Bringing Independent Talent into Your Workforce Planning Next Year

December 7, 2021

So long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. And goodbye. Workers across the U.S. have been signing off from their payroll jobs in record numbers this year. While it’s not uncommon to see a surge in quitting when the job market is hot and there are tons of positions available, what’s happening right now is unlike anything we’ve…

soi
| 5 MIN READ

The Rise of the Influencer: How the Creator Economy is Giving Entrepreneurs New Independence

November 16, 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City and stage performances shut down, actor Marc Winski was left without an audience to entertain. The 34-year-old actor, singer and stutter-awareness influencer was, like the rest of the world, sheltering in place. And he craved a creative outlet.  So, he turned to TikTok.  At first, it was…

Learn more about the MBO Platform

For Independent Professionals

Start, run, and grow your independent business with MBO

For Enterprises

Find, manage and retain top-tier independent talent