MBO Partners, a service provider for the self-employed, predicts in a report that 60% of the workforce will be independent professionals by 2027.
The research also predicts that: independent work will be cyclical, with professionals switching back and forth between employment and independent work to gain new skills; independent workers will be concentrated in either the very high-paying or very low-paying ends of the "gig" spectrum; organizations will focus on the results "gig" workers provide and not their labor; and independent workers will team up to provide services.
As technology continues to evolve, researchers predict that highly skilled independent workers will use automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to do their jobs, while lower-skilled "gig" workers could be replaced by, for example, robots or self-driving cars.
Most studies on "gig" workers seem to agree that independent workers could take over the workforce in the near future. An Intuit and Emergent Research report, for example, says that independent workers will outnumber employees by 2021.
How independent workers make use of automation and AI in the future will be interesting, as many already use technology that's available now to find assignments, market their services and collaborate with other "gig" workers.
The biggest change affecting independent workers could be updates in decades-old labor policies that lawmakers want to make to accommodate the growing "gig" economy and protect its workers. Officials have discussed everything from health coverage to unemployment insurance and retirement plans for gig workers.