- Slightly more than three-quarters of independent contractors (77%) said they're "doing okay" or "living comfortably," according to new research from MBO Partners on the financial well-being of independent workers. Seventy-eight percent of those with traditional jobs said the same about their financial circumstances, according to the survey of nearly 4,000 U.S. residents.
- Survey respondents rated their financial wellness using a scale from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Scores range from one to 100; those scores that fall beneath 40 indicate people who feel financially insecure. People who rate their circumstances between 42 and 50 struggle to make ends meet. Those who choose a score between 51 and 50 indicate general financial stability. Any score above 60 is associated with financial security.
- The average score for independent workers is 54. The average for traditional workers is 53. The study noted that "independent worker scores have a wider variation of results." More than a quarter of independent workers rated themselves at or above 60 (22% of traditional workers said the same thing). Meanwhile, 16% of gig workers had scores of 40 or less (as compared to 13% of traditional employees).
This survey may help employers comprehend why independent work is proving such a popular option among working Americans. Recent research from the Society for Human Resource Management and SAP SuccessFactors found nearly 1 in 5 gig workers prefer to work on their own. The same report found a third of respondents reported they earned more as an independent worker than they would as a traditional employee. Other perks factored into their decision to become gig workers, independent contractors, freelancers or any other type of non-traditional worker; half said they did so because they could set their own schedule, while 40% said they could choose their own hours.
These pieces of research appear to confirm each other's findings — not only is gig work more flexible than traditional employment opportunities, but workers can be just as, if not more, financially stable in such positions.
MBO Partners' report may encourage organizations who employ traditional employees and use contract workers to consider offering financial wellness benefits to their staff. While benefits are usually reserved for employees, some organizations have extended them to gig workers as well. With only a quarter of gig workers and 22% of traditional employees rating their financial circumstances as secure, employer-sponsored courses in budgeting, investing, debt and other issues may be welcome in the workplace. In fact, a third of workers in a National Business Group on Health survey said they want more assistance from their employers with their financial planning.
As employers consider providing such benefits, they may want to survey their workers' interests in financial assistance. This practice will ensure employers engage with employees on issues they're most concerned about, experts previously told HR Dive. Employers may ask their workers, for example, how they rate their financial circumstances and what kind of help they would most benefit from.