Self-Employment Is Growing Fast
Self-employed workers are also referred to as independent workers, freelancers, consultants, gig workers and on-demand workers.
- There were 41 million independent workers in the U.S. in 2019, representing 31% the of private workforce, up 2.8% from 2016.
- 3.2 million full-time independent workers made more than $100,000 annually in 2017, an increase of 4.9% from previous year.
- 53% of full-time independent workers are men, 47% are women.
- 38% of all independent workers are Millennials, 27% are Gen X and 35% are Boomers.
- 16.million independent workers are full time, 11.8 million are part time and 12.9 million are occasional. The number of occasional independent workers rose to 12.9 million in 2017 and 80% of them said they did it to supplement their income from their full-time job.
- An estimated 20-30% of American workers take on temporary or “gig” work to supplement their full-time income.
- 43% of full-time independent workers say they make more money than being employed and 48% say they feel more secure working independently.
- The average income for full-time independents is $65,300 per year. Millennials average $43,800 per year.
- The top reasons independent workers give for choosing self-employment is to be their own boss (77%) and more flexibility (74%). 64% said independent work was better for their health.
- The top 3 barriers to freelancing are income predictability, finding work and benefits.
- In next 5 years, half of the American private workforce will be working independently or will have worked independently.
- The annual growth rate of the independent workforce is 3.1%.
- Freelance work grew 3x faster than overall U.S. workforce from 2014 to 2017.
- There will be 47.6 million independent workers in the U.S. by 2022.
- 63% of freelancers in 2017 said they chose freelance work by choice, up 10% from 2014.
- The average freelancer has 4.5 clients per month.
- 63% of freelancers believe having a diverse portfolio of clients is more secure than having one employer.
Traditional Employment Is Changing
Middle-class jobs are growing at a slower pace than low-wage and high-wage jobs.
- 54% of Americans aren’t confident their job will exist 20 years from now.
- Prior to 2000, the private sector created full-time jobs at a rate of 2 to 3%. Since 2008, the rate has been less than 1%.
- The majority of jobs created since 2010 have been temporary.
- In a 2016 survey, 42% of global executives said they planned on using more independent workers over the next 3 to 5 years.
- Union membership peaked in 1954 when 35% of American workers were members of a union. In 2017 there were 14.8 million union workers representing 10.7% of all workers.
- In 1964 AT&T was the most valuable company in America worth $267 billion (in 2016 dollars) employing 758,611 people. In 2016, Google was worth $370 billion and employed only 55,000 people.
- Teen summer employment has been declining since the mid-1980s. In 1986, 57% of teens had a summer job. In 2016, only 36% of teens had a job.
- The average job tenure is now 4.5 years and it’s 3.2 years for Millennials.
- In 2013, the Department of Labor estimated that 65% of the children born that year would be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist.
- 83% of Millennials say they prefer working for companies with few layers of management.
- 85% of all jobs are filled via networking.
Automation + Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Automation will change work and create more of it than it eliminates.
- 47% of jobs in the U.S. will be automated in the next 20 years according to a 2013 study from Oxford University.
- 6 out of 10 occupations have more than 30% of activities that can be automated. Less than 5% of occupations can be fully automated.
- By 2030 the occupation category in biggest demand in the U.S. will be “builders” (architects, engineers, construction workers, repair workers), followed by computer engineers and care providers.
- 42% of HR managers believe automation will increase productivity by 10%.
- 82% of 18,000 employers from 43 countries say they will maintain or increase staff levels as a result of automation.
There are a growing number of occupations that have more job openings than applicants.
- There will be an estimated 1 million more computing jobs than applicants by 2020. There were 500,000 computing jobs available in 2017, but fewer than 43,000 students graduated with a degree in computer science the year before.
- An estimated 60,000 high-skilled agriculture jobs will be created each year through 2020, but only an average of 35,000 related degrees are award each year.
- 7 out of 10 electricians are concerned about the skills gap in their profession.
- 31 million skilled trade jobs will be left vacant by Baby Boomer retirements by 2020.
- 5 out of 10 open positions for skilled workers in U.S. manufacturing remain unoccupied due to a skills gap.
The new career security lies in constantly learning new skills.
- The half-life (the period of time a skill is deemed useful and valuable) of a skill is now 5 years. For example, a skill you learned 10 years ago is likely to be less valuable or no longer has value in the workplace.
- The average length of an individual’s career will now be over 60 years.
- In the next decade, 60% of jobs in the workforce will be new compared to today’s workforce.
- In 2017, 55% of freelancers participated in skill-related education v. 30% of traditional employees.
- Average employee only has 24 minutes a week or about 5 minutes a day to devote to training.
- Social learning training has a 75:1 ROI ratio over web-based learning and is the preferred learning method of Millennials.
The return on investment (ROI) of university degrees is declining.
- 45% of recent graduates in 2017 were underemployed.
- Student loan debt in 2017 was $1.3 trillion, doubling over past decade.
- Recent college graduates owe an average of $34,000, up 70% in past 10 years.
- Student loan delinquency rose to 11.2% in 2017, The highest rate for all types of household debt. It is now the second highest category of consumer debt behind mortgages. 1 in 10 borrowers are at least 90 days behind in their payments.
- College tuition increased by over 1,000% from 1978 to 2014 and earn 23% less than Boomers did their age in 1989 when adjusted for inflation.
- Only 62% of hiring managers believe students are not prepared for the job market.
- In 1990 there were only 180 entrepreneurship programs offered by U.S. universities. By 2014 that number exploded to over 2,000 programs.