- New research from MBO Partners shows that 65% of independent workers chose their work life because they wanted to, not be cause they couldn't find full-time employment. The 2017 MBO Partners of Independence In America report counted 41 million independent workers in the U.S. across every ethnic, gender, age, income and skill group.
- Independent workers also currently make up 31% of the private sector workforce, according to the study.
- Researchers published three key findings: 1) Independent workers are becoming better able to compete in the talent war on their own merit; 2) while independent work isn't suitable for everyone, the percentage of those who prefer full-time employment dropped to 24%, the lowest point in the seven-year study; and 3) More Americans are choosing independent or part-time work for supplemental income.
The MBO study confirms what recent studies also have concluded: gig or independent workers — contractors, temporary workers and freelancers — are a rapidly growing segment of the workforce. Independent workers already outnumber employees in the construction and finance industries.
Independent work is an old concept; a fair segment of the workforce has always been self-employed. What's new is the technology companies and gig workers are using to connect. Websites and mobile applications have made that connection faster, cheaper and more targeted.
The gig economy has given employers access to a range of skilled workers without the cost of providing benefits and other perquisites normally reserved for employees. But both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have met to discuss ways to update the decades-old Fair Labor Standards Act, with provisions to protect gig workers' pay. Talks seem to have stalled, as lawmakers grapple with healthcare reforms and budget issues.