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The Great Realization

In our 2021 report, we look at how Americans are rethinking what work means and how it defines their lives.

INDEPENDENT WAVE

INDEPEND-ENT WAVE

After falling by 7% in 2020, largely due to the pandemic, the overall number of independent workers grew sharply in 2021: up 34%, to 51.1 million from 38.2 million in 2020.
Wave (1) (1)
34%

Annual Growth from 2021 to 2022

WFO-Graphics-Mobile-gray
New Project (28)

FRESH FACES

The new arrivals to independent work in 2021 are generally closer to the beginning of their careers than toward the end.

68%

Of newcomers
were Gen Z
or millennials

55%

Of newcomers
were female

FRESH FACES

The new arrivals to independent work in 2021 are generally closer to the beginning of their careers than toward the end.
New Project (31)

RISK AND SECURITY

The pandemic has reinforced the growing view that traditional jobs are riskier and less secure than they once were.

man-group
2

Out of

3

Full-Time Independent workers believe they are more secure than traditional workers

87%

Say they are happier working independently
  • 0%

78%

Say they are healthier working independently
  • 0%

HAPPIER THAN EVER

At a time when employers and workers are focusing more intently on physical and mental health and mindfulness, Full-Time Independents reveal that their path generally makes them feel better.

  • 0%

87%

Say they are happier working independently
  • 0%

78%

Say they are healthier working independently

EXPLORE IN-DEPTH

Like what you're reading? Check our other briefs.
WelcomeCreatorEconomy

Welcome to the Creator Economy

How is the creator economy shaping the future of work in traditional and independent workforces?

digital-nomad-brief-cover

The Digital Nomad Search Continues

Learn more about this dynamic and fast-growing population of 15.5 million workers that has grown more than 100% since 2019.

EXPLORE MORE DATA

2021 State of Independence Report

REFERRING WORK

Online platforms and marketplaces have acted as powerful facilitators, making it easier, cheaper, and more convenient for independent workers to start businesses and find customers

Percentage who used an online platform to find work

2012

3%

2015

15%

2021

40%

REFERRING WORK

Online platforms and marketplaces have acted as powerful facilitators, making it easier, cheaper, and more convenient for independent workers to start businesses and find customers
Percentage who used an online platform to find work
Group-icon

MORE GROWTH

Increasingly, independent workers are finding that they are in control of their destiny.

In the next 5 years

50%

will have been or will be independent

MORE GROWTH

Increasingly, independent workers are finding that they are in control of their destiny.

In the next 5 years

50%

will have been or will be independent

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