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Freelancing
in America:
2017
Study objectives
2
Upwork and Freelancers Union commissioned Edelman Intelligence, an independent research firm, to conduct their fourth annual
study of the U.S. freelance workforce with these objectives:
1. Assess change: AI’s impact, freelancing and the future of work
2. Quantify freelancing: Size the workforce and predict a coming freelancer majority
3. Examine why: Help reveal what’s causing more people to choose to freelance
4. Share considerations: Better understand freelancers’ financials, economic impact and concerns
This deck is organized in sections to detail results on each objective.
Methodology
• An online survey of 6,000 U.S. adults who have done paid work in the past 12 months
• Data collected July 21, 2017 – August 14, 2017 by independent research firm Edelman Intelligence
• This is the fourth year the survey has been conducted, allowing for trend data. Data collected in the summers of 2014-
2016 is referenced throughout the analysis and indicates the percentage point change over the past three years.
• Results are weighted to ensure demographic representation in line with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey
• Overall margin of error of ±1.27% at the 95% level of confidence
• Audiences surveyed:
U.S. Workers Overall
U.S. adults 18+ who have earned
income from work within the past 12
months, including both freelancers
and non-freelancers
Freelancers
Individuals who have engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-
based work, within the past 12 months
Non-Freelancers
Individuals who earned income through work but have not engaged in
supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12
months.N=6,000
N=2173
N=3827
3
Assess change: AI’s impact, freelancing and the
future of work
• We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 54% of the U.S. workforce is not very confident that the work they do
today is likely to exist in 20 years (freelancers and non-freelancers share this believe).
• Freelancers are more aware of job market transformation. 49% of full-time freelancers indicate that their work has
already been affected by AI and robotics, versus only 18% of full-time non-freelancers.
• Freelancers update their skills more often and believe they’re better prepared for the future. 65% of full-time
freelancers say they’re updating their skills as jobs evolve, versus only 45% of full-time employees
Key Findings
4
Quantify freelancing: size the workforce and
predict a coming freelancer majority
• 57.3 million people freelanced this year.
• The freelance workforce grew at a rate 3x faster than the U.S. workforce overall since 2014.
• Younger generations are driving the acceleration of freelancing. Almost half of working Millennials (47%) freelance,
more than any other generation.
• At its current growth rate, the majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by 2027.
Key Findings
5
Examine why: help reveal what’s causing more
people to choose to freelance
• Perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive: 69% of freelancers agree (up 6 points since 2016).
• Main drivers of freelancing for full-time freelancers are freedom and flexibility, with part-time freelancers driven by
earning extra money as well as flexibility.
• Freelancers increasingly think having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than one employer (63% agree, up
10 points since 2016) and have an average 4.5 clients per month.
• Freelancers are finding more work online. 71% say the amount of work they obtain online increased this year (up 5
points since 2016).
• Don't call this the “Gig Economy”; results show respondents much prefer the “Freelance Economy” (49% prefer,
approximately 5x more than the 10% who prefer “Gig Economy”).
Key Findings
6
Key findings
7
Share considerations: better understand freelancers’
financials, economic impact and concerns
• Freelancers contribute approximately $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy annually – an increase of almost 30% since last year.
• Freelancers and non-freelancers share most of the same list of top concerns, which includes access to affordable healthcare,
debt and ability to save.
• That said, freelancers have a unique top concern -- income predictability. Freelancers therefore dip into their savings more
often, with 63% of full-time freelancers dipping into savings at least once per month versus only 20% of full-time non-
freelancers.
• 7 out of 10 freelancers prefer taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on their own, rather than receiving less pay and
accessing benefits through an employer or client.
• Freelancers are seeking a voice, beyond political affiliation. 72% of freelancers are open to crossing party lines if a candidate
indicated that they supported freelancer interests.
AI’s impact,
Freelancing,
and the
future of
work
8
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
The world is changing…more than half of the U.S.
workforce isn’t very confident their work will
exist in 20 years. The World Economic Forum calls
this the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”
Very
Likely,
46%
Somewhat
Likely, 38%
Not Very
Likely,
12%
Not Likely
at all, 4%
Q69_1: How likely do you think it is that… ? [Scale: Very Likely, Somewhat Likely, Not Very Likely, Not Very Likely at All]
Options: Work you will do today will exist in 20 years; Work the average American does today will exist in 20 years; the industry you work in will be transformed by robots or automation
54%
Aren’t very confident
(55% of Freelancers
53% of Non-
Freelancers)
Likelihood work you do today will exist in 20 years
[U.S. Workforce]
9
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers are far more realistic about
automation’s impact than non-freelancers
10
66%
34%
Full-Time Freelancers Full-Time Non-Freelancers
How likely do you think it is that the industry you work in
will be transformed by robots or automation?
[Showing % Very/Somewhat Likely]
53% of Millennial Freelancers think this
transformation is likely vs. only 29% of
Baby Boomer Freelancers
Q69_1: How likely do you think it is that… ? [Scale: Very Likely, Somewhat Likely, Not Very Likely, Not Very Likely at All]
Statements: Work you will do today will exist in 20 years; Work the average American does today will exist in 20 years; the industry you work in will be transformed by robots or automation
Q102: How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? [Scale: Strongly Disagree, Somewhat disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Somewhat Agree, Strongly Agree]
Statements: My work has already been affected by automation/robots; I am updating my skills to ensure I’m marketable as the job market evolves; I am concerned about the impact of
automation on my livelihood
55%
Strongly/Somewhat
agree
I am concerned about the impact of
automation on my livelihood
[Full-Time Freelancers]
+26 pts
compared to FT Non-
Freelancers (29%)
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers are more aware of job market
transformation; 77% believe at least some of their
work will be done by robots/machines in 20 years
11
Q105: How much of the work that you currently do, do you think will be done by robots or machines in 20 years? Options: All of the work I do; Most of the work I do; Some of the work I
do; None of the work I do
34%
24%
18%
23%
6%
13%
43%
38%
All of the work I do Most of the work I do Some of the work I do None of the work I do
FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers
77% of Full-Time Freelancers believe at least some of their work will be done by
robots/machines in 20 years
(vs. 62% of Full-Time Non-Freelancers)
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers are more likely to say their work has
already been impacted and that they’re proactively
updating their skills to remain relevant
49%Of Full-Time Freelancers agree that
my work has already been affected
by automation/robots
(vs. 18% of FT Non-Freelancers)
Q102: How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? [Scale: Strongly Disagree, Somewhat Disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Somewhat Agree, Strongly Agree] Statements: My work has
already been affected by automation/robots; I am updating my skills to ensure I’m marketable as the job market evolves; I am concerned about the impact of automation on my livelihood
12
65%Of Full-Time Freelancers are
updating their skills to ensure that
they are marketable as the job
market evolves
(vs. 45% of FT Non-Freelancers)
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
More than half of freelancers updated their skills
in the last six months while less than a third of
non-freelancers did so
Q21_3: When was the last time you participated in any skill-related education or training? Options: Within the last week; Within the last month, Within the last 6 months; Over a
year ago; I have ever participated in any skill-related training or education
15%
25%
22%
37%
8%
8%
18%
15%
17%
9%20%
6%
Freelancers Non-Freelancers
Within the last week
Within the last month
Within the last 6 months
Within the last year
Over a year ago
Never
When was the last time you participated in any skill-related education or training?
[Freelancers]
55%
participated
in skill-
related
education
within the
last 6
months
30%
participated
in skill-
related
education
within the
last 6
months
13
Sizing the
freelance
workforce
and the
coming
freelancer
majority
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Our survey rigorously screened respondents to determine the percent who earned freelance income in the past year. Results showed
that 36% of the U.S. workforce is freelancing.
57.3M freelanced this year; Calculations show that
we are about a decade away from freelancers
becoming the majority of our workforce
2014 2015 2016 2017
53M
53.7M
55M
57.3M
Number of people freelancing
15
1.3% growth from 2014 2.4% growth from 2015
3.8% growth from 2014
4.2% growth from 2016
6.7% growth from 2015
8.1% growth from 2014
Growth has nearly
doubled each year
We estimate that the U.S. workforce currently includes 57.3 million people freelancing, an increase of over 4 million since our 2014 survey.
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
53
53.7
55
57.3
2014 2015 2016 2017
Freelancers
156
157
159
160
US Workforce
16
Freelance workforce growth is 3x the growth of
the U.S. Workforce since 2014
4.2% growth from 2016
8.1% growth from 2014
.6% growth from 2016
2.6% growth from 2014
US Workforce vs. Freelance Workforce Over Time
[In Millions]
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
100
101.3
103.8
108.1
100
100.6
101.9
102.5
2014 2015 2016 2017
Freelancers
US Workforce
17
Indexed to 2014 workforce data, the growth of the
Freelance Workforce is accelerating, more than
tripling the growth of the overall workforce
Growth rate of US Workforce vs. Freelance Workforce Over Time
[Indexed to 2014]
Information about Indexing
What we did: 2014 data on the size of
the freelancer and US workforces has
been established as the benchmark
(noted on the graph as 100). Each
subsequent number indicates the %
growth in the respective workforce
groups relative to their 2014 levels (i.e.
relative to 2014, the 2017 freelance
workforce has grown 8.1%).
Why? These indexed values allow for a
cleaner apples-to-apples visualization
of the rate of growth for each group
relative to their respective group sizes.
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
102.7 101.3 99.7 98.1 96.3
94.5
92.5
90.4
88.2
85.9
83.4
80.8
57.3
59.7
62.2
64.8
67.6
70.4
73.3
76.4
79.6
83.0
86.5
90.1
2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028
Non-Freelancers
Freelancers
18
If current growth rates hold steady, freelancers
become the u.s. workforce majority in a decade
Projected Future Freelancer Size
[In Millions] 2027: Expected year
when majority of the U.S.
workforce is a freelancer
39.8% 44.2% 50.9%
Expected % of U.S.
Workforce that
freelances
35.8%
NOTE: Growth projections assume the growth rates for Freelancers and US workers overall between 2016 and 2017 hold constant (4.2% and .6% respectively).
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
More Freelancers are working full-time
19
-6pts
More Part-Time
Freelancers compared to
2014
2017:53%
2016: 51%
2015: 50%
2014: 59%
+12pts
More Full-Time
Freelancers compared to
2014
2017: 29%
2016: 25%
2015:26%
2014: 17%
-3pts
Less Full-time employees
who earn extra income from
freelance work compared to
2014
2017: 16%
2016: 19%
2015:20%
2014: 19%
Q31: Which of the following best describes your current freelance work? Options: Full-Time Freelancer; Part-Time Freelancer;
Full-Time employee who earns extra income from freelance work
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Most freelancers started within the last
three years
Q47: How long ago did you start freelancing? Options: Less than 6 months ago; 6 months - 1year ago; 1-2 years ago; 2-3 years ago; 3-4 years ago; 5-10 years ago;
10-20 years ago; More than 20 years ago
59%of freelancers started freelancing
within the last 3 years
10%
15%
19%
15%
14% 14%
8%
5%
Less than 6
months ago
6 months – 1
year ago
1 – 2 years ago 2 – 3 years ago 3 – 4 years ago 5 – 10 years ago 10 – 20 years
ago
More than 20
years ago
How long ago did you start freelancing?
[Freelancers]
20
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
38% 34% 31% 32%
47%
35%
27% 28%
18-34 35-44 45-54 55+
% who Freelance among Age Groups
2014 2017
Younger Generations are driving the acceleration
in freelancing
21
Q2: What is your current age?
+9 pts
since 2014
What’s
causing more
people to
freelance
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
42% 43%
59%
66%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
2014 2015 2016 2017
How much has the freelance job market today changed compared to 3 years ago?
[% who indicated there has been change]
2 in 3 Freelancers agree that the freelance job market
has changed, a large jump from previous years
Q52: How much has the freelance job market today changed compared to 3 years ago? [Scale: 1- Has not changed at all – 9-Completely changed]
Note: % who indicated there has been change are those who rated 6-9 on the scale
23
Proportion is even
higher (76%)
among Full-Time
Freelancers
+24pts since 2014
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancing is more respected than ever, with more
leading professionals choosing it
24
Q44_1: Please indicate your agreement with the following statements about freelancing. Options: Freelancing provides an alternative that can allow one to support a family without holding a
traditional job, Freelancing gives me the opportunity to do my work from anywhere I choose, I am interested in moving to a less expensive area to live and freelancing makes that easier than
having a traditional job, Freelancing allows me to save time and money by not commuting, Freelancers are seen as experts in their field, Having a diversified portfolio of income from multiple
clients is more secure than having one employer, A healthy freelance economy boosts America’s middle class
Q53: What do you think is different about the freelance job market today compared to 3 years ago? Options: Technology has made it easier to find freelance work, There is greater demand for
freelancers, There are more organizations (coworking, networking groups, jobs boards, etc.) to support freelancers, Perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive,
Freelancing is becoming the norm in my industry, Professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently, Professionals who are the top in their industry
are earning more by working independently than they would within a corporation
56%
63%
67%
69%
Professionals who are the top in their
industry are increasingly choosing to
work independently
Perceptions of freelancing as a career
are becoming more positive
% Strongly/Somewhat agree
2017
2016
6pts from
2016
11pts from
2016
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
People are increasingly starting to freelance
by choice
25
Q48: Which is closer to the reason you originally started freelancing? Options: Choice; Necessity
47% 40% 37% 37%
53% 60% 63% 63%
2014 2015 2016 2017
Freelancers who say they started freelancing more out of choice versus necessity
Choice
Necessity
+10pts since 2014
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
81% 81% 78% 78% 76%
67%
72%
66% 66%
79%
To be my own boss To have flexibility in my
schedule (i.e. what days or
times I work)
To be able to choose my own
projects
To work from the location of my
choosing
To earn extra money
Full-time freelancers Part-time freelancers
Full-time freelancers desire freedom and flexibility;
part-time freelancers seek extra money along with
flexibility
Top 5 Reasons for Freelancing
Q35b. Please indicate the degree to which each of the following is a reason why you freelance? [Scale: 1- Not at all a reason – 5- A major reasons]
Options: Out of financial necessity; To earn extra money; To be in control of my own financial future; To be able to choose my own projects; To have flexibility in my schedule (i.e. what days or
times I work); To be able to spend more time with friends, family, and my personal life; So that I get access to global opportunities, rather than be limited by location; To expand my
professional network; To gain additional skills or experience; To have independence from things such as office dynamics; To be able to pursue work I am passionate about or find meaningful;
So that I can progress in my career at my own pace; Because a traditional salaried job is unavailable or hard to find; It allows me to keep working after retirement to earn additional income; To
have a schedule that allows me to provide care for a family member; To be my own boss; To work from the location of my choosing; To have a schedule that enables me to pursue my personal
passions; To be able to spend more time with family
26
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Feelings about freelancing in their own words…
27
Q21_9: Please finish the following statement. “Compared to a job with a traditional employer, freelancing makes me feel….”
Compared to a job with a traditional employer, freelancing makes me feel…
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
49%
25%
13%
10%
3%
The freelance
economy
The on-demand
economy
The sharing
economy
The gig economy Other
Don’t call this the “gig Economy” – respondents
overwhelmingly describe themselves as part of
the “Freelance Economy”
Q21_11: Which of the following would you prefer to describe the group of people who freelance? Options: The
freelance economy; The gig economy; The sharing economy; The on-demand economy; Other, please specify
Which of the following would you prefer to describe
the group of people who freelance?
[Freelancers]
28
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Half of freelancers say they wouldn’t take a
traditional job, no matter how much they’re
offered
Q50e. How much more would a traditional job with an employer need to pay in order for you to definitely take that traditional job and stop freelancing? Options: None; $4,999 or less; $5,000-9,999; $10,000-19,999;
$20,000-49,999; $50,000-99,999; $100,000+; There is no amount of money where I would definitely take a traditional job.
25%
3%
3%
7%
7%
5%
50%
How much more would a traditional job with an employer need to pay in
order for you to definitely take that traditional job and stop freelancing?
[Freelancers]
$50,000-$99,999
$100K+
There is no amount of
money where I would
definitely take a
traditional job>$5,000
$5,000- $9,999
$10,000-
$19,999
$20,000-
$49,000
<$5,000
29
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
30
Q44_1: Please indicate your agreement with the following statements about freelancing. Options: Freelancing provides an alternative that can allow one to support a family without holding a
traditional job, Freelancing gives me the opportunity to do my work from anywhere I choose, I am interested in moving to a less expensive area to live and freelancing makes that easier than having
a traditional job, Freelancing allows me to save time and money by not commuting, Freelancers are seen as experts in their field, Having a diversified portfolio of income from multiple clients is
more secure than having one employer, A healthy freelance economy boosts America’s middle class
67%
of Freelancers agree that
freelancing provides an
alternative way to support a
family besides a traditional
employer based job
+12 pts
since 2016
63%
of Freelancers agree having
a diversified portfolio of
multiple clients is more
secure than having one
employer
+10 pts
since 2016
freelancing and a Diverse portfolio of clients is
seen as viable and secure
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Same
Most freelance at least weekly, averaging 4.5
clients per month
Q24: How often do you engage in freelancing? Options: Daily; Weekly; Bi-weekly; Monthly; Every other month; 3-4 times a year; 1-2 times a year; Once a year or less
Q31_8: Approximately, how many different clients have you had in the past six months as part of your freelance work? Options: 0; 1; 2-4; 5-9; 10-19; 20-49; 50+
Q101: Thinking about your freelance work in the past month, how big have your clients been? Please use your best estimate. You may choose more than one to represent varied clients. Options:
1-10 employees; 11-100 employees; 101-1000 employees; 1001+ employees; They have been other freelancers; Other, please specify
How often do you engage in freelancing?
[Freelancers]
Freelancers indicate, on
average, having 27 different
clients within their last six
months of work
(4.5 per month)
31
More than 3 in 4 (76%) of
those clients have less
than 100 employees
How many?
How big?
How often?
39%
32%
9% 9%
3% 4%
1% 2%
Daily Weekly Bi-weekly Monthly Every other
month
3-4 times a
year
1-2 times a
year
Once a
year or less
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Repeat clients are common for freelancers
Q59_1: What type of freelance projects do you most frequently work on? Options: One-off projects with various clients; Ongoing or repeat work
With a consistent set of clients
What type of freelance projects do you most
frequently work on?
[Freelancers]
52%
Work on ongoing
or repeat work
with a consistent
set of clients
32
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Same
And, they indicate having an adequate amount of
work
How often do you engage in freelancing?
[Full-Time Freelancers]
On average, Full-
Time Freelancers
are working
36 hours per week
33
Q5: How many hours do you work in a typical week?
Q31_1: Which of the following best describes the amount of work you are currently doing? Options: I have more work than I want; I have the amount of work I want; I have less work than I want
+10 pts
since 2016
-11 pts
since 2016
33%
41%
26%
I have more work than I
want
I have the amount of
work I want
I have less work than I
want
Technology is
a driver of
freelancing
growth
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
A mix of sources provide access to freelance
work today
5%
13%
14%
17%
17%
19%
22%
23%
24%
27%
37%
38%
43%
Other
Sharing economy websites or apps
Employment agency / staffing firm
Specialized freelance websites
Local newspaper
Previous employer (full-time)
Online freelance marketplaces
Online job boards
Previous employer (freelance)
Online ads/classifieds
Social media
Professional contacts
Friends and family
Where do you typically go to find freelance work?
[Freelancers]
Q59: Where do you typically go to find freelance work? Q text stayed the same 2014-2016. 2014, however, did not include the following answer choices:
social media, online freelance marketplaces, specialized freelance websites
35
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
69%
73% 73%
77%
2014 2015 2016 2017
Technology is making it easier to find freelance
work
“Technology has made it easier to find
freelance work”
Q53: What do you think is different about the freelance job market today compared to 3 years ago? Options: Technology has made it easier to find freelance work; There is greater demand for
freelancers; There are more organizations (coworking, networking groups, jobs boards, etc.) to support freelancers; Perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive;
Freelancing is becoming the norm in my industry; Professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently; Professionals who are the top in their
industry are earning more by working independently than they would within a corporation
36
+8 pts since 2014
[% Freelancers who Strongly/Somewhat agree]
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
42%
52%
54%
59%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
2014 2015 2016 2017
59%
76% 72% 67%
Freelancers
Overall
Diversified
Workers
Full-Time WorkersMillennial Workers
Freelancers are increasingly finding work online,
especially diversified, full-time and millennial
freelancers
Have you ever obtained a freelance project online?
[Freelancers]
Q60. Have you ever obtained a freelance project online? Question in 2014 worded as “Q59: Have you ever done a freelance project online – meaning work that you found and performed via the Internet” (42% in 2014)
37
The freelancing groups that are all growing (Diversified, FT,
Millennials) are also the ones most likely to show high shares
of online work
+17 pts
since 2014
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Decreased a lot
1%
Decreased
somewhat
3%
Stayed about
the same
24%Increased
somewhat
36%
Increased a lot
35%
In the past year, change in share of freelancing work obtained online vs. offline
[Freelancers who have found work online]
In addition to more people finding work online,
freelancers are finding a greater share of work
this way
71% of freelancers say
the percentage of work
they have obtained
online has increased
over the past year
Q61_1: How has the percentage of your freelancing work obtained online (websites, apps, etc.), as compared to offline, changed in the past year?
38
+6 pts since
2016
+5 pp since
2016
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
How long on average does it take you to find freelance projects that you look
for online?
[Freelancers who have found work online]
Those finding work online typically start these
projects within a week
Q61. How long on average does it take you to find freelance projects that you look for online? (i.e. between looking for an opportunity and starting work of it)
Options: Less than 24 hours; 1-3 days; 4-6 days; 1-2 weeks; 3-4 weeks; More than a month
39
77% within a week
21%
30%
26%
13%
5% 5%
Less than 24 hours 1-3 days 4-6 days 1-2 weeks 3-4 weeks More than a month
Freelancers’
financials,
economic
impact and
concerns
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers have a positive impact on the American
economy
$$$
Freelance earnings increased
almost 30% since last year to
reach an estimated
$1.4 trillion
Q44_1: Please indicate your agreement with the following statements about freelancing. Options: Freelancing provides an alternative that can allow one to support a family without holding a
traditional job, Freelancing gives me the opportunity to do my work from anywhere I choose, I am interested in moving to a less expensive area to live and freelancing makes that easier than having
a traditional job, Freelancing allows me to save time and money by not commuting, Freelancers are seen as experts in their field, Having a diversified portfolio of income from multiple clients is
more secure than having one employer, A healthy freelance economy boosts America’s middle class
Q31_2. Over the past year, how much money did you earn in total from freelancing, before taxes or other deductions?
Earning calculated by multiplying average income from freelancing in past year ($23,743) by the number of freelancers (57.3 million).
41
A healthy freelance economy boosts
America’s middle class
[Freelancers]
67%
Strongly Agree/
Somewhat Agree
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
High-earning Freelancers are steadily growing
their role in our economy
42
9%
12%
15%
19%
5%
7%
10%
12%
3%
2%
5%
5%
2014 2015 2016 2017
$150,000 or
more
$100,000-
$149,999
$75,000-
$99,999
36%
31%
17%
21%
Q72: Which of the following best describes your annual personal income? (Personal, not household income)
Annual Personal Income
[Freelancers]
More are earning $75K + compared to previous years
+19 pts
since 2014
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
37%
25%
14%
11%
9%
5%
Immediately Less than 6
months
6 months –
1 year
1- 2 years 3- 5 years 6 years or
more
75% earned more within 1 year
Same
More
62%
Less
29%
The
same
10%
As a freelancer, do you earn more or
less than when you had an
employer?
[FLs who have quit a job with
employer to freelance]
+8pts from 2016
Of those who left a traditional job to freelance,
nearly 2 in 3 say they now make more than before
Q29a: In the past, did you quit or leave a job with an employer in order to freelance?
Q29b. As a freelancer now, do you earn more or less than when you had an employer? (freelancers who left a traditional job) Question text changed from 2014 – “Q29: Do you make more or
less money now than you did before you started doing freelance work?” Showing top 2 box, “a lot more + somewhat more”
Q29c. After leaving your job with an employer, how long did it take you to earn more as a freelancer than you did with an employer? (freelancers earned more after leaving traditional job)
How long did it take you to earn more as a freelancer than
you did with an employer?
[Freelancers who earned more after leaving a traditional job]
17.2
million
freelancers have quit
a job with an
employer in order to
freelance (30%)
43
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Q11: Do you have an employer (i.e. a company that employs you)? [Yes/No]
Q12: Do you have more than one employer, job, or contract project? [Yes/No]
Q13: Do you do any work outside of your primary position to supplement your income or earn additional money? [Yes/No]
Q37. Have you ever considered quitting your primary job in order to work completely independently? [Yes/No]
Yes
36%
No
64%
Have you considered quitting your job in
order to work completely independently?
[Moonlighters]
13 Million
Moonlighters
Workers with a primary employer
who have done work outside of
their main job to earn additional
money within the past year
If these Moonlighters quit their jobs,
that would be nearly
4.7M
NewIndependent
Contractors
Almost five million individuals currently
freelancing part-time are thinking about making
the leap to independence
44
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
53%
42% 41%
35%
29%
Worries about income
predictability
Concern that you would be able
to find enough work to support
yourself
Uncertainty that you could
“make it” on your own
Desire to keep company
sponsored benefits such as
health insurance, paid vacation,
and life insurance
Difficulty finding freelance work
The top thing holding moonlighters back from
freelancing full-time is income unpredictability
What’s holding you back from quitting your primary job to work independently?
[Freelancers who want to move to full-time]
Q40_1: What is holding you back from quitting your primary job to work independently? Options: Desire to keep company sponsored benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation, and life
insurance; Worries about income predictability; Concern that you would face higher taxes; Difficultyfinding freelance work; Uncertainty about how to get started; Concern that you would be
able to find enough work to support yourself; Uncertainty that you could “make it” on your own; Worry about losing professional contacts; Pressure to have a “traditional” job; Fear of feeling
isolated working by yourself; Feeling overwhelmed about managing your own business (i.e. legal, accounting, marketing, etc.); Other (Specify; None of the above
45
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
46
How would you rank each of the following issues in terms of your level of concern?
[Showing issue selected as one of their top 3 concerns]
U.S. workers share the same concerns regardless
of whether they freelance or not
Freelancers Non-Freelancers
Unpredictable income High taxation rates
Access to affordable
healthcare
Debt
Saving for retirement
Being able to put
enough money into
savings
4 of the top 5 issues for Freelancers and Non-Freelancers are the same, but differ on just
one of their top 5 issues…
Q78_1: How would you rank each of the following issues in terms of your level of concern? [Most concerning + Second most concerning] Options: Unpredictable income; Being paid a fair rate; Non-payment or late
payment for work; Being able to put enough money into savings; Saving for Retirement; Access to affordable healthcare; High taxation rates; Difficulty finding work; Having opportunities for career growth; Debt;
Forgoing the purchase of things I need; Competition from other freelancers; Competition from large businesses; Finding information about benefit options; Access to loans; Complying with (or knowing) legal
regulations
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Q31_5: In the past year, did you put money into savings (i.e. retirement accounts, emergency savings account, health savings account, etc.)? [Yes/No]
47
68%
73%
FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers
In the past year, did you put money into savings (i.e. retirement
accounts, emergency savings account, health savings account, etc.)?
[% Yes among FT Freelancers and FT Non-Freelancers]
More than two-thirds of both full-time
freelancers and full-time non-freelancers
are saving
+8pts since 2016 -2pts since 2016
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
The majority of full-time freelancers think that
they have more or same amount of money saved
as the average American
Q31_19: Would you guess that you have more, less, or the same amount of money set aside in savings as the average American of your age? Options: More; About the same; Less
48
49%
29%
21%24%
32%
44%
More About the same Less
FT Freelancers FT Non Freelancers
Savings compared to the average American of your age
[Respondents who put money into savings last year]
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
46%
38%
34%
32%
30%
23%
59%
58%
27%
14%
11%
10%
FT Freelancers
FT Non-
Freelancers
Q31_6: You said you put money into savings in the past year. What were you saving money for? Options: Retirement; Education; To sustain me between jobs; Emergency fund (i.e. to deal with major
home repairs, car repairs, etc.); Buying a home; Big ticket purchases (i.e. taking a vacation, buyinga new car, etc.); Other (specify)
49
Emergency fund
Retirement
Big ticket purchases
Buying a home
To sustain me between jobs
Education
You said you put money into savings in the past year.
What were you saving money for?
[Respondents who put money into savings last year]
Freelancers are more likely to save for between
jobs, education, and home buying; non-freelancers
are more likely to save for retirement
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Saving is a common challenge for American
workers
50
23%
45%
23%
56%
I am on-track or
prepared for retirement
Have saved $5K or less in
savings
FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers
Which of the following apply to you?
Q31_18: Roughly, how much money do you currently have set aside in savings? Options: 0; 1-4999; 5,000-9,999; 10,000-20,999; 21,000-49,999; 50,000-99,999; 100,000+
Q31_27: And, which of the following apply to you? Options: I don’t feel anxious or concerned about day-to-day finances; I am on-track or prepared for retirement; I have a financial plan or goals; I
am meeting or on-track to meet my financial goals; I have the ability to make debt or loan payments on time; I am prepared in case of a financial emergency; I understand my finances; I live within
my means; I can currently afford to take two weeks of unplanned leave from work; None of the above
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
19%
23%
33%
39%
41%
41%
71%
High taxes
Other
High health care/health insurance
costs
I might need that money in the short
term
High housing costs
I spent my savings to cover a short-
term need / emergency
My income is too unpredictable to set
aside money for savings
Full-time freelancers dip into savings more often. Of those
who say they haven’t saved as much as an average
American, top reason is unpredictable income
Q31_20: What are the three biggest reasons you have not saved as much as the average American of your age? Options: My income is too unpredictable to set aside money for savings; High
housing costs; High health care/health insurance costs; Student loans; High taxes; Lack of access to good savings tools; I might need that money in the short term; I’m just not good at saving; I
spent my savings to cover a short-term need / emergency; Other
Q31_23: About how often do you typically have to dip into your savings? Options: At least once a week; At least once a month; Every few months; About once a year; Never
51
Three biggest reasons Full-Time Freelancers have not saved as much as
the average American of their age…
38%
6%
25%
14%14%
22%
FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers
At least once a week At least once a month Every few months
63% of Full-Time Freelancers dip into
savings at least once a month
(versus 20% of Full-Time Non-freelancers)
How often do you typically have to dip into your savings?
[FT Freelancers and FT Non-Freelancers]
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Understanding of finances is lower among full-time
freelancers, who say starting early and financial
planning is key
“I understand my finances”
[FT Freelancers vs. FT Non-Freelancers]
What has been your key to success at savings?
[FT Freelancers who have saved more or equal to
the average American]
57%
41%
FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers
Q31_27: And, which of the following apply to you? Options: I don’t feel anxious or concerned about day-to-day finances; I am on-track or prepared for retirement; I have a financial plan or
goals; I am meeting or on-track to meet my financial goals; I have the ability to make debt or loan payments on time; I am prepared in case of a financial emergency; I understand my
finances; I live within my means; I can currently afford to take two weeks of unplanned leave from work; None of the above
Q31_21: What has been your key to success at savings? Options: Making saving a priority; Creating a monthly budget; Creating a long term financial plan; Having a financial advisor; Having
easy access to savings tools or apps; Starting to save early; Living simply/living within my means; Taking on more clients or gigs; Other, please specify
52
32%
33%
34%
34%
36%
Creating a monthly
budget
Making saving a
priority
Creating a long
term financial plan
Living simply/living
within my means
Starting to save
early
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
20%
17%
15%
24%
12%
9%
2%
25%
21%
16%
15%
12%
9%
2%
Through a plan
that I purchase
myself
Medicare Medicaid Through my
employer’s plan
Through my
spouse’s plan
Through my
parents’ plan
Other
Total Freelancers FT Freelancers
Full-time freelancers are more likely to purchase
healthcare themselves
How do you get your health insurance?
[Freelancers/FT Freelancers Who Currently Have Health Insurance]
53
85%
of Full-Time Freelancers have
health insurance
+5%pts since 2016
Q78_6: How do you get your health insurance? Options: Through my employer’s plan; Through a plan that I purchase myself; Medicare; Medicaid; Through my spouse’s plan; Through my parents’ plan; Other
And 54% say their
healthcare costs have risen
in the past year
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers are most likely to think that the
Affordable Care Act has helped them and the
majority prefer that Congress keep the ACA
54
60%
prefer Congress keepthe
Affordable Care Act
✓ 42% - Keep the Affordable Care Act but make changes to strengthen it
✓ 23% - Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it immediately with a
different plan than is currently being debated
✓ 17% - Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the healthcare
plan currently being debated in Congress
✓ 17% - Keep the Affordable Care Act as is
48%
19%
33%
42%
24%
35%
Helped them No impact Hurt them
How has the Affordable Care Act impacted each of the following groups?
[Freelancers]
Full-time freelancers Average American in traditional job
Q74_4: Congress is currently debating repealing the Affordable Care Act and passing a new health care law. Which would you prefer Congress to do? Options: Repeal the Affordable Care Act
and replace it with the healthcare plan currently being debated in Congress; Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it immediately with a different plan than is currently being debated;
Keep the Affordable Care Act but make changes to strengthen it; Keep the Affordable Care Act as is
Q74_5: In your opinion, how has the Affordable Care Act impacted each of the following groups? Options: Helped them; No Impact; Hurt them
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
7 out of 10 freelancers prefer purchasing their
own benefits
Taking home more pay
and purchasing
benefits on your own
Taking home less pay and
receiving a benefits package
from your employer or clients
70%
30%
When it comes to benefits, which of the following options would you prefer?
[Freelancers]
Q78_9: When it comes to benefits, which of the following options would you prefer? Options: Taking home less pay and receiving a benefits package from your employer or
clients; Taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on your own
55
(82% among Full-Time
Freelancers)
+4%pts since 2016
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Politicians who advocate for freelancers may
benefit, even winning votes across party lines
Q74: If a candidate for political office supported your interests as a freelancer, how would that impact your vote? Options: Much more likely to vote for that candidate; Somewhat more likely
to vote for that candidate; Somewhat less likely to vote for that candidate; Much less likely to vote for that candidate; It would make no difference
Q103: If a candidate for political office indicated they supported freelancer interests, how open would you be to crossing party lines to support them? Options: Very open; Somewhat open; Not
very open; Not at all open
56
of Freelancers will be more likely to
vote for a candidate who supports the
interests of freelancers
67% of Freelancers are open to crossing
party lines if a candidate indicated
they supported freelancer interests
72%
Who
freelancers
are
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
35%
19.8 M
The freelance workforce: 5 freelancer segments
23%
13.0 M
31%
17.7 M
6%
3.4 M
6%
3.4 M
Independent
Contractors
Diversified
Workers
Moonlighters
Temporary
Workers
Freelance Business
Owners
-9 pts from 2014
+17 pts from 2014
-4 pts from 2014
+1 pts from 2014
-4 pts from 2014
Note: Due to rounding, percentages add up to more than 100%
58
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
freelancers skew more male than U.S. workers
overall
59%
41%
53%
47%
Male Female
What gender do you more closely identify with?
Freelancers U.S. workers overall
Q1: What gender do you more closely identify with?
59
-4 pts from 2014+4 pts from 2014
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers skew younger; half are millennials
Q2: What is your current age?
60
46% 48%
36%
27% 28%
54% 52%
64%
73% 72%
18-21 22-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Freelancer Participation by Age
Freelancers Non-Freelancers
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers have a slightly higher proportion of
post-graduate degrees
31%
26%
24%
19%
35%
27%
24%
14%
HS grad or less Some college +Associate Degree Bachelor's degree Post grad
What is the highest level of school you have completed?
Freelancers U.S. Workers Overall
Q68: What is the highest level of school you have completed or the highest degree you have received?
61
+9pts
from 2016
-4pts
from 2014
-6pts
from 2014
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers live all over the country, though a
slightly higher proportion live in urban areas
18% 19%
37%
25%
18%
22%
37%
23%
Northeast Midwest South West
What region do you live in?
Freelancers U.S. Workers Overall
43%
40%
17%
35%
46%
19%
Urban Suburban Rural
What type of area do you currently live in?
Freelancers U.S. Workers Overall
Q70: What state do you live in?
Q71: What type of area do you currently live in? Options: Urban; Suburban; Rural
62
+6pts
from 2014
-3pts
from 2014
55% of Full-Time Freelancers live in
urban areas
-3pts
from 2014
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
Freelancers' diversity is in line with the general
population of U.S. workers
66%
15%
11%
5% 3%
68%
14%
10%
5% 3%
White Hispanic or Latino African or African descent Asian-American/ Asian All others
Which of the following best describes your ethnicity, racial background or heritage?
Freelancers U.S. Workers Overall
Q3A: Which of the following best describes your ethnicity, racial background or heritage? Options: White; African or African descent (black, African-American, Caribbean or Caribbean-American); Hispanic or
Latino; Asian-American/ Asian; Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander; American Indian or Alaska Native; Middle Eastern; Other (specify); Prefer not to answer
63
Appendix
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
U.S. Workers Overall: U.S. adults 18+ who have earned income from work within the past 12
months, including both freelancers and non-freelancers.
Freelancers: Individuals who have engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-
based work, within the past 12 months.
Full-Time Freelancers: Individuals that describe their current freelance work status as “full-
time freelancer.”
Part-Time Freelancers: Individuals that describe their current freelance work status as “part-
time freelancer.”
Non-Freelancers: Individuals who earned income through work but have not engaged in
supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12 months.
Non-Freelancers Employed Full-time: Individuals that describe their current work status as
“employed full-time” and do not do any additional work outside of their primary job to
supplement their income.
Glossary
65
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
5 Segments of Freelancers
Starting with the general U.S. workforce, each respondent ran through a series of questions that carefully qualified their
employment status and income in order to detect freelancing activity that might otherwise go unrecorded. The following
definitions and examples explain 5 segments of freelancers captured:
1. Diversified Workers (35% / 19.8 million) – People with multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional employers and freelance
work. For example, someone who works part-time at a start-up, manages an Airbnb and does freelance coding.
2. Independent Contractors (31% of the independent workforce / 17.7 million professionals) – These “traditional” freelancers don't have
an employer and instead do freelance, temporary, or supplemental work on a project-to-project basis.
3. Moonlighters (23% / 13.0 million) – Professionals with a primary, traditional job who also moonlight doing freelance work. For
example, a corporate-employed web developer who does projects for non-profits in the evening.
4. Freelance Business Owners (6% / 3.4 million) – These freelancers have one or more employees and consider themselves both a
freelancer and a business owner. For example, a social marketing guru who hires a team of other social marketers to build a small
agency, but still identifies as a freelancer.
5. Temporary Workers (6% / 3.4 million) – Individuals with a single employer, client, job, or contract project where their employment
status is temporary. For example, a data entry worker employed by a staffing agency who is working on a three-month assignment.
In order to qualify, freelancers had to have earned freelance income within the past 12 months.
66
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
This study commissioned by:
Upwork
Upwork is the world’s largest freelancing website. As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, knowledge work —
like software, shopping and content before it— is shifting online as well. This shift is making it easier for clients to connect and work with
talent in near real-time and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at a set time and place. Freelancers are earning more
than $1 billion annually via Upwork. Upwork is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in San Francisco and Oslo, Norway. For
more information, visit www.upwork.com, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Freelancers Union
With over 360,000 members nationwide, Freelancers Union is the fastest-growing labor organization representing the independent workforce.
We believe all workers should have the freedom to build meaningful, connected, and independent lives – backed by a system of mutual and
public support. Freelancers Union members join together to build community, access benefits and educational resources, and form a
powerful political constituency. For more information, visit www.freelancersunion.org.
67
Edelman Intelligence © 2017
For more details go to:
https://www.upwork.com/i/freelancing-in-america/2017/

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Freelancing in America: 2017

  • 2. Study objectives 2 Upwork and Freelancers Union commissioned Edelman Intelligence, an independent research firm, to conduct their fourth annual study of the U.S. freelance workforce with these objectives: 1. Assess change: AI’s impact, freelancing and the future of work 2. Quantify freelancing: Size the workforce and predict a coming freelancer majority 3. Examine why: Help reveal what’s causing more people to choose to freelance 4. Share considerations: Better understand freelancers’ financials, economic impact and concerns This deck is organized in sections to detail results on each objective.
  • 3. Methodology • An online survey of 6,000 U.S. adults who have done paid work in the past 12 months • Data collected July 21, 2017 – August 14, 2017 by independent research firm Edelman Intelligence • This is the fourth year the survey has been conducted, allowing for trend data. Data collected in the summers of 2014- 2016 is referenced throughout the analysis and indicates the percentage point change over the past three years. • Results are weighted to ensure demographic representation in line with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey • Overall margin of error of ±1.27% at the 95% level of confidence • Audiences surveyed: U.S. Workers Overall U.S. adults 18+ who have earned income from work within the past 12 months, including both freelancers and non-freelancers Freelancers Individuals who have engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract- based work, within the past 12 months Non-Freelancers Individuals who earned income through work but have not engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12 months.N=6,000 N=2173 N=3827 3
  • 4. Assess change: AI’s impact, freelancing and the future of work • We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 54% of the U.S. workforce is not very confident that the work they do today is likely to exist in 20 years (freelancers and non-freelancers share this believe). • Freelancers are more aware of job market transformation. 49% of full-time freelancers indicate that their work has already been affected by AI and robotics, versus only 18% of full-time non-freelancers. • Freelancers update their skills more often and believe they’re better prepared for the future. 65% of full-time freelancers say they’re updating their skills as jobs evolve, versus only 45% of full-time employees Key Findings 4
  • 5. Quantify freelancing: size the workforce and predict a coming freelancer majority • 57.3 million people freelanced this year. • The freelance workforce grew at a rate 3x faster than the U.S. workforce overall since 2014. • Younger generations are driving the acceleration of freelancing. Almost half of working Millennials (47%) freelance, more than any other generation. • At its current growth rate, the majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by 2027. Key Findings 5
  • 6. Examine why: help reveal what’s causing more people to choose to freelance • Perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive: 69% of freelancers agree (up 6 points since 2016). • Main drivers of freelancing for full-time freelancers are freedom and flexibility, with part-time freelancers driven by earning extra money as well as flexibility. • Freelancers increasingly think having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than one employer (63% agree, up 10 points since 2016) and have an average 4.5 clients per month. • Freelancers are finding more work online. 71% say the amount of work they obtain online increased this year (up 5 points since 2016). • Don't call this the “Gig Economy”; results show respondents much prefer the “Freelance Economy” (49% prefer, approximately 5x more than the 10% who prefer “Gig Economy”). Key Findings 6
  • 7. Key findings 7 Share considerations: better understand freelancers’ financials, economic impact and concerns • Freelancers contribute approximately $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy annually – an increase of almost 30% since last year. • Freelancers and non-freelancers share most of the same list of top concerns, which includes access to affordable healthcare, debt and ability to save. • That said, freelancers have a unique top concern -- income predictability. Freelancers therefore dip into their savings more often, with 63% of full-time freelancers dipping into savings at least once per month versus only 20% of full-time non- freelancers. • 7 out of 10 freelancers prefer taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on their own, rather than receiving less pay and accessing benefits through an employer or client. • Freelancers are seeking a voice, beyond political affiliation. 72% of freelancers are open to crossing party lines if a candidate indicated that they supported freelancer interests.
  • 9. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 The world is changing…more than half of the U.S. workforce isn’t very confident their work will exist in 20 years. The World Economic Forum calls this the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” Very Likely, 46% Somewhat Likely, 38% Not Very Likely, 12% Not Likely at all, 4% Q69_1: How likely do you think it is that… ? [Scale: Very Likely, Somewhat Likely, Not Very Likely, Not Very Likely at All] Options: Work you will do today will exist in 20 years; Work the average American does today will exist in 20 years; the industry you work in will be transformed by robots or automation 54% Aren’t very confident (55% of Freelancers 53% of Non- Freelancers) Likelihood work you do today will exist in 20 years [U.S. Workforce] 9
  • 10. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers are far more realistic about automation’s impact than non-freelancers 10 66% 34% Full-Time Freelancers Full-Time Non-Freelancers How likely do you think it is that the industry you work in will be transformed by robots or automation? [Showing % Very/Somewhat Likely] 53% of Millennial Freelancers think this transformation is likely vs. only 29% of Baby Boomer Freelancers Q69_1: How likely do you think it is that… ? [Scale: Very Likely, Somewhat Likely, Not Very Likely, Not Very Likely at All] Statements: Work you will do today will exist in 20 years; Work the average American does today will exist in 20 years; the industry you work in will be transformed by robots or automation Q102: How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? [Scale: Strongly Disagree, Somewhat disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Somewhat Agree, Strongly Agree] Statements: My work has already been affected by automation/robots; I am updating my skills to ensure I’m marketable as the job market evolves; I am concerned about the impact of automation on my livelihood 55% Strongly/Somewhat agree I am concerned about the impact of automation on my livelihood [Full-Time Freelancers] +26 pts compared to FT Non- Freelancers (29%)
  • 11. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers are more aware of job market transformation; 77% believe at least some of their work will be done by robots/machines in 20 years 11 Q105: How much of the work that you currently do, do you think will be done by robots or machines in 20 years? Options: All of the work I do; Most of the work I do; Some of the work I do; None of the work I do 34% 24% 18% 23% 6% 13% 43% 38% All of the work I do Most of the work I do Some of the work I do None of the work I do FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers 77% of Full-Time Freelancers believe at least some of their work will be done by robots/machines in 20 years (vs. 62% of Full-Time Non-Freelancers)
  • 12. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers are more likely to say their work has already been impacted and that they’re proactively updating their skills to remain relevant 49%Of Full-Time Freelancers agree that my work has already been affected by automation/robots (vs. 18% of FT Non-Freelancers) Q102: How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? [Scale: Strongly Disagree, Somewhat Disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Somewhat Agree, Strongly Agree] Statements: My work has already been affected by automation/robots; I am updating my skills to ensure I’m marketable as the job market evolves; I am concerned about the impact of automation on my livelihood 12 65%Of Full-Time Freelancers are updating their skills to ensure that they are marketable as the job market evolves (vs. 45% of FT Non-Freelancers)
  • 13. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 More than half of freelancers updated their skills in the last six months while less than a third of non-freelancers did so Q21_3: When was the last time you participated in any skill-related education or training? Options: Within the last week; Within the last month, Within the last 6 months; Over a year ago; I have ever participated in any skill-related training or education 15% 25% 22% 37% 8% 8% 18% 15% 17% 9%20% 6% Freelancers Non-Freelancers Within the last week Within the last month Within the last 6 months Within the last year Over a year ago Never When was the last time you participated in any skill-related education or training? [Freelancers] 55% participated in skill- related education within the last 6 months 30% participated in skill- related education within the last 6 months 13
  • 15. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Our survey rigorously screened respondents to determine the percent who earned freelance income in the past year. Results showed that 36% of the U.S. workforce is freelancing. 57.3M freelanced this year; Calculations show that we are about a decade away from freelancers becoming the majority of our workforce 2014 2015 2016 2017 53M 53.7M 55M 57.3M Number of people freelancing 15 1.3% growth from 2014 2.4% growth from 2015 3.8% growth from 2014 4.2% growth from 2016 6.7% growth from 2015 8.1% growth from 2014 Growth has nearly doubled each year We estimate that the U.S. workforce currently includes 57.3 million people freelancing, an increase of over 4 million since our 2014 survey.
  • 16. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 53 53.7 55 57.3 2014 2015 2016 2017 Freelancers 156 157 159 160 US Workforce 16 Freelance workforce growth is 3x the growth of the U.S. Workforce since 2014 4.2% growth from 2016 8.1% growth from 2014 .6% growth from 2016 2.6% growth from 2014 US Workforce vs. Freelance Workforce Over Time [In Millions]
  • 17. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 100 101.3 103.8 108.1 100 100.6 101.9 102.5 2014 2015 2016 2017 Freelancers US Workforce 17 Indexed to 2014 workforce data, the growth of the Freelance Workforce is accelerating, more than tripling the growth of the overall workforce Growth rate of US Workforce vs. Freelance Workforce Over Time [Indexed to 2014] Information about Indexing What we did: 2014 data on the size of the freelancer and US workforces has been established as the benchmark (noted on the graph as 100). Each subsequent number indicates the % growth in the respective workforce groups relative to their 2014 levels (i.e. relative to 2014, the 2017 freelance workforce has grown 8.1%). Why? These indexed values allow for a cleaner apples-to-apples visualization of the rate of growth for each group relative to their respective group sizes.
  • 18. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 102.7 101.3 99.7 98.1 96.3 94.5 92.5 90.4 88.2 85.9 83.4 80.8 57.3 59.7 62.2 64.8 67.6 70.4 73.3 76.4 79.6 83.0 86.5 90.1 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 Non-Freelancers Freelancers 18 If current growth rates hold steady, freelancers become the u.s. workforce majority in a decade Projected Future Freelancer Size [In Millions] 2027: Expected year when majority of the U.S. workforce is a freelancer 39.8% 44.2% 50.9% Expected % of U.S. Workforce that freelances 35.8% NOTE: Growth projections assume the growth rates for Freelancers and US workers overall between 2016 and 2017 hold constant (4.2% and .6% respectively).
  • 19. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 More Freelancers are working full-time 19 -6pts More Part-Time Freelancers compared to 2014 2017:53% 2016: 51% 2015: 50% 2014: 59% +12pts More Full-Time Freelancers compared to 2014 2017: 29% 2016: 25% 2015:26% 2014: 17% -3pts Less Full-time employees who earn extra income from freelance work compared to 2014 2017: 16% 2016: 19% 2015:20% 2014: 19% Q31: Which of the following best describes your current freelance work? Options: Full-Time Freelancer; Part-Time Freelancer; Full-Time employee who earns extra income from freelance work
  • 20. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Most freelancers started within the last three years Q47: How long ago did you start freelancing? Options: Less than 6 months ago; 6 months - 1year ago; 1-2 years ago; 2-3 years ago; 3-4 years ago; 5-10 years ago; 10-20 years ago; More than 20 years ago 59%of freelancers started freelancing within the last 3 years 10% 15% 19% 15% 14% 14% 8% 5% Less than 6 months ago 6 months – 1 year ago 1 – 2 years ago 2 – 3 years ago 3 – 4 years ago 5 – 10 years ago 10 – 20 years ago More than 20 years ago How long ago did you start freelancing? [Freelancers] 20
  • 21. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 38% 34% 31% 32% 47% 35% 27% 28% 18-34 35-44 45-54 55+ % who Freelance among Age Groups 2014 2017 Younger Generations are driving the acceleration in freelancing 21 Q2: What is your current age? +9 pts since 2014
  • 23. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 42% 43% 59% 66% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 2014 2015 2016 2017 How much has the freelance job market today changed compared to 3 years ago? [% who indicated there has been change] 2 in 3 Freelancers agree that the freelance job market has changed, a large jump from previous years Q52: How much has the freelance job market today changed compared to 3 years ago? [Scale: 1- Has not changed at all – 9-Completely changed] Note: % who indicated there has been change are those who rated 6-9 on the scale 23 Proportion is even higher (76%) among Full-Time Freelancers +24pts since 2014
  • 24. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancing is more respected than ever, with more leading professionals choosing it 24 Q44_1: Please indicate your agreement with the following statements about freelancing. Options: Freelancing provides an alternative that can allow one to support a family without holding a traditional job, Freelancing gives me the opportunity to do my work from anywhere I choose, I am interested in moving to a less expensive area to live and freelancing makes that easier than having a traditional job, Freelancing allows me to save time and money by not commuting, Freelancers are seen as experts in their field, Having a diversified portfolio of income from multiple clients is more secure than having one employer, A healthy freelance economy boosts America’s middle class Q53: What do you think is different about the freelance job market today compared to 3 years ago? Options: Technology has made it easier to find freelance work, There is greater demand for freelancers, There are more organizations (coworking, networking groups, jobs boards, etc.) to support freelancers, Perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive, Freelancing is becoming the norm in my industry, Professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently, Professionals who are the top in their industry are earning more by working independently than they would within a corporation 56% 63% 67% 69% Professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently Perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive % Strongly/Somewhat agree 2017 2016 6pts from 2016 11pts from 2016
  • 25. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 People are increasingly starting to freelance by choice 25 Q48: Which is closer to the reason you originally started freelancing? Options: Choice; Necessity 47% 40% 37% 37% 53% 60% 63% 63% 2014 2015 2016 2017 Freelancers who say they started freelancing more out of choice versus necessity Choice Necessity +10pts since 2014
  • 26. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 81% 81% 78% 78% 76% 67% 72% 66% 66% 79% To be my own boss To have flexibility in my schedule (i.e. what days or times I work) To be able to choose my own projects To work from the location of my choosing To earn extra money Full-time freelancers Part-time freelancers Full-time freelancers desire freedom and flexibility; part-time freelancers seek extra money along with flexibility Top 5 Reasons for Freelancing Q35b. Please indicate the degree to which each of the following is a reason why you freelance? [Scale: 1- Not at all a reason – 5- A major reasons] Options: Out of financial necessity; To earn extra money; To be in control of my own financial future; To be able to choose my own projects; To have flexibility in my schedule (i.e. what days or times I work); To be able to spend more time with friends, family, and my personal life; So that I get access to global opportunities, rather than be limited by location; To expand my professional network; To gain additional skills or experience; To have independence from things such as office dynamics; To be able to pursue work I am passionate about or find meaningful; So that I can progress in my career at my own pace; Because a traditional salaried job is unavailable or hard to find; It allows me to keep working after retirement to earn additional income; To have a schedule that allows me to provide care for a family member; To be my own boss; To work from the location of my choosing; To have a schedule that enables me to pursue my personal passions; To be able to spend more time with family 26
  • 27. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Feelings about freelancing in their own words… 27 Q21_9: Please finish the following statement. “Compared to a job with a traditional employer, freelancing makes me feel….” Compared to a job with a traditional employer, freelancing makes me feel…
  • 28. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 49% 25% 13% 10% 3% The freelance economy The on-demand economy The sharing economy The gig economy Other Don’t call this the “gig Economy” – respondents overwhelmingly describe themselves as part of the “Freelance Economy” Q21_11: Which of the following would you prefer to describe the group of people who freelance? Options: The freelance economy; The gig economy; The sharing economy; The on-demand economy; Other, please specify Which of the following would you prefer to describe the group of people who freelance? [Freelancers] 28
  • 29. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Half of freelancers say they wouldn’t take a traditional job, no matter how much they’re offered Q50e. How much more would a traditional job with an employer need to pay in order for you to definitely take that traditional job and stop freelancing? Options: None; $4,999 or less; $5,000-9,999; $10,000-19,999; $20,000-49,999; $50,000-99,999; $100,000+; There is no amount of money where I would definitely take a traditional job. 25% 3% 3% 7% 7% 5% 50% How much more would a traditional job with an employer need to pay in order for you to definitely take that traditional job and stop freelancing? [Freelancers] $50,000-$99,999 $100K+ There is no amount of money where I would definitely take a traditional job>$5,000 $5,000- $9,999 $10,000- $19,999 $20,000- $49,000 <$5,000 29
  • 30. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 30 Q44_1: Please indicate your agreement with the following statements about freelancing. Options: Freelancing provides an alternative that can allow one to support a family without holding a traditional job, Freelancing gives me the opportunity to do my work from anywhere I choose, I am interested in moving to a less expensive area to live and freelancing makes that easier than having a traditional job, Freelancing allows me to save time and money by not commuting, Freelancers are seen as experts in their field, Having a diversified portfolio of income from multiple clients is more secure than having one employer, A healthy freelance economy boosts America’s middle class 67% of Freelancers agree that freelancing provides an alternative way to support a family besides a traditional employer based job +12 pts since 2016 63% of Freelancers agree having a diversified portfolio of multiple clients is more secure than having one employer +10 pts since 2016 freelancing and a Diverse portfolio of clients is seen as viable and secure
  • 31. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Same Most freelance at least weekly, averaging 4.5 clients per month Q24: How often do you engage in freelancing? Options: Daily; Weekly; Bi-weekly; Monthly; Every other month; 3-4 times a year; 1-2 times a year; Once a year or less Q31_8: Approximately, how many different clients have you had in the past six months as part of your freelance work? Options: 0; 1; 2-4; 5-9; 10-19; 20-49; 50+ Q101: Thinking about your freelance work in the past month, how big have your clients been? Please use your best estimate. You may choose more than one to represent varied clients. Options: 1-10 employees; 11-100 employees; 101-1000 employees; 1001+ employees; They have been other freelancers; Other, please specify How often do you engage in freelancing? [Freelancers] Freelancers indicate, on average, having 27 different clients within their last six months of work (4.5 per month) 31 More than 3 in 4 (76%) of those clients have less than 100 employees How many? How big? How often? 39% 32% 9% 9% 3% 4% 1% 2% Daily Weekly Bi-weekly Monthly Every other month 3-4 times a year 1-2 times a year Once a year or less
  • 32. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Repeat clients are common for freelancers Q59_1: What type of freelance projects do you most frequently work on? Options: One-off projects with various clients; Ongoing or repeat work With a consistent set of clients What type of freelance projects do you most frequently work on? [Freelancers] 52% Work on ongoing or repeat work with a consistent set of clients 32
  • 33. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Same And, they indicate having an adequate amount of work How often do you engage in freelancing? [Full-Time Freelancers] On average, Full- Time Freelancers are working 36 hours per week 33 Q5: How many hours do you work in a typical week? Q31_1: Which of the following best describes the amount of work you are currently doing? Options: I have more work than I want; I have the amount of work I want; I have less work than I want +10 pts since 2016 -11 pts since 2016 33% 41% 26% I have more work than I want I have the amount of work I want I have less work than I want
  • 34. Technology is a driver of freelancing growth
  • 35. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 A mix of sources provide access to freelance work today 5% 13% 14% 17% 17% 19% 22% 23% 24% 27% 37% 38% 43% Other Sharing economy websites or apps Employment agency / staffing firm Specialized freelance websites Local newspaper Previous employer (full-time) Online freelance marketplaces Online job boards Previous employer (freelance) Online ads/classifieds Social media Professional contacts Friends and family Where do you typically go to find freelance work? [Freelancers] Q59: Where do you typically go to find freelance work? Q text stayed the same 2014-2016. 2014, however, did not include the following answer choices: social media, online freelance marketplaces, specialized freelance websites 35
  • 36. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 69% 73% 73% 77% 2014 2015 2016 2017 Technology is making it easier to find freelance work “Technology has made it easier to find freelance work” Q53: What do you think is different about the freelance job market today compared to 3 years ago? Options: Technology has made it easier to find freelance work; There is greater demand for freelancers; There are more organizations (coworking, networking groups, jobs boards, etc.) to support freelancers; Perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive; Freelancing is becoming the norm in my industry; Professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently; Professionals who are the top in their industry are earning more by working independently than they would within a corporation 36 +8 pts since 2014 [% Freelancers who Strongly/Somewhat agree]
  • 37. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 42% 52% 54% 59% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 2014 2015 2016 2017 59% 76% 72% 67% Freelancers Overall Diversified Workers Full-Time WorkersMillennial Workers Freelancers are increasingly finding work online, especially diversified, full-time and millennial freelancers Have you ever obtained a freelance project online? [Freelancers] Q60. Have you ever obtained a freelance project online? Question in 2014 worded as “Q59: Have you ever done a freelance project online – meaning work that you found and performed via the Internet” (42% in 2014) 37 The freelancing groups that are all growing (Diversified, FT, Millennials) are also the ones most likely to show high shares of online work +17 pts since 2014
  • 38. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Decreased a lot 1% Decreased somewhat 3% Stayed about the same 24%Increased somewhat 36% Increased a lot 35% In the past year, change in share of freelancing work obtained online vs. offline [Freelancers who have found work online] In addition to more people finding work online, freelancers are finding a greater share of work this way 71% of freelancers say the percentage of work they have obtained online has increased over the past year Q61_1: How has the percentage of your freelancing work obtained online (websites, apps, etc.), as compared to offline, changed in the past year? 38 +6 pts since 2016 +5 pp since 2016
  • 39. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 How long on average does it take you to find freelance projects that you look for online? [Freelancers who have found work online] Those finding work online typically start these projects within a week Q61. How long on average does it take you to find freelance projects that you look for online? (i.e. between looking for an opportunity and starting work of it) Options: Less than 24 hours; 1-3 days; 4-6 days; 1-2 weeks; 3-4 weeks; More than a month 39 77% within a week 21% 30% 26% 13% 5% 5% Less than 24 hours 1-3 days 4-6 days 1-2 weeks 3-4 weeks More than a month
  • 41. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers have a positive impact on the American economy $$$ Freelance earnings increased almost 30% since last year to reach an estimated $1.4 trillion Q44_1: Please indicate your agreement with the following statements about freelancing. Options: Freelancing provides an alternative that can allow one to support a family without holding a traditional job, Freelancing gives me the opportunity to do my work from anywhere I choose, I am interested in moving to a less expensive area to live and freelancing makes that easier than having a traditional job, Freelancing allows me to save time and money by not commuting, Freelancers are seen as experts in their field, Having a diversified portfolio of income from multiple clients is more secure than having one employer, A healthy freelance economy boosts America’s middle class Q31_2. Over the past year, how much money did you earn in total from freelancing, before taxes or other deductions? Earning calculated by multiplying average income from freelancing in past year ($23,743) by the number of freelancers (57.3 million). 41 A healthy freelance economy boosts America’s middle class [Freelancers] 67% Strongly Agree/ Somewhat Agree
  • 42. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 High-earning Freelancers are steadily growing their role in our economy 42 9% 12% 15% 19% 5% 7% 10% 12% 3% 2% 5% 5% 2014 2015 2016 2017 $150,000 or more $100,000- $149,999 $75,000- $99,999 36% 31% 17% 21% Q72: Which of the following best describes your annual personal income? (Personal, not household income) Annual Personal Income [Freelancers] More are earning $75K + compared to previous years +19 pts since 2014
  • 43. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 37% 25% 14% 11% 9% 5% Immediately Less than 6 months 6 months – 1 year 1- 2 years 3- 5 years 6 years or more 75% earned more within 1 year Same More 62% Less 29% The same 10% As a freelancer, do you earn more or less than when you had an employer? [FLs who have quit a job with employer to freelance] +8pts from 2016 Of those who left a traditional job to freelance, nearly 2 in 3 say they now make more than before Q29a: In the past, did you quit or leave a job with an employer in order to freelance? Q29b. As a freelancer now, do you earn more or less than when you had an employer? (freelancers who left a traditional job) Question text changed from 2014 – “Q29: Do you make more or less money now than you did before you started doing freelance work?” Showing top 2 box, “a lot more + somewhat more” Q29c. After leaving your job with an employer, how long did it take you to earn more as a freelancer than you did with an employer? (freelancers earned more after leaving traditional job) How long did it take you to earn more as a freelancer than you did with an employer? [Freelancers who earned more after leaving a traditional job] 17.2 million freelancers have quit a job with an employer in order to freelance (30%) 43
  • 44. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Q11: Do you have an employer (i.e. a company that employs you)? [Yes/No] Q12: Do you have more than one employer, job, or contract project? [Yes/No] Q13: Do you do any work outside of your primary position to supplement your income or earn additional money? [Yes/No] Q37. Have you ever considered quitting your primary job in order to work completely independently? [Yes/No] Yes 36% No 64% Have you considered quitting your job in order to work completely independently? [Moonlighters] 13 Million Moonlighters Workers with a primary employer who have done work outside of their main job to earn additional money within the past year If these Moonlighters quit their jobs, that would be nearly 4.7M NewIndependent Contractors Almost five million individuals currently freelancing part-time are thinking about making the leap to independence 44
  • 45. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 53% 42% 41% 35% 29% Worries about income predictability Concern that you would be able to find enough work to support yourself Uncertainty that you could “make it” on your own Desire to keep company sponsored benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation, and life insurance Difficulty finding freelance work The top thing holding moonlighters back from freelancing full-time is income unpredictability What’s holding you back from quitting your primary job to work independently? [Freelancers who want to move to full-time] Q40_1: What is holding you back from quitting your primary job to work independently? Options: Desire to keep company sponsored benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation, and life insurance; Worries about income predictability; Concern that you would face higher taxes; Difficultyfinding freelance work; Uncertainty about how to get started; Concern that you would be able to find enough work to support yourself; Uncertainty that you could “make it” on your own; Worry about losing professional contacts; Pressure to have a “traditional” job; Fear of feeling isolated working by yourself; Feeling overwhelmed about managing your own business (i.e. legal, accounting, marketing, etc.); Other (Specify; None of the above 45
  • 46. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 46 How would you rank each of the following issues in terms of your level of concern? [Showing issue selected as one of their top 3 concerns] U.S. workers share the same concerns regardless of whether they freelance or not Freelancers Non-Freelancers Unpredictable income High taxation rates Access to affordable healthcare Debt Saving for retirement Being able to put enough money into savings 4 of the top 5 issues for Freelancers and Non-Freelancers are the same, but differ on just one of their top 5 issues… Q78_1: How would you rank each of the following issues in terms of your level of concern? [Most concerning + Second most concerning] Options: Unpredictable income; Being paid a fair rate; Non-payment or late payment for work; Being able to put enough money into savings; Saving for Retirement; Access to affordable healthcare; High taxation rates; Difficulty finding work; Having opportunities for career growth; Debt; Forgoing the purchase of things I need; Competition from other freelancers; Competition from large businesses; Finding information about benefit options; Access to loans; Complying with (or knowing) legal regulations
  • 47. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Q31_5: In the past year, did you put money into savings (i.e. retirement accounts, emergency savings account, health savings account, etc.)? [Yes/No] 47 68% 73% FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers In the past year, did you put money into savings (i.e. retirement accounts, emergency savings account, health savings account, etc.)? [% Yes among FT Freelancers and FT Non-Freelancers] More than two-thirds of both full-time freelancers and full-time non-freelancers are saving +8pts since 2016 -2pts since 2016
  • 48. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 The majority of full-time freelancers think that they have more or same amount of money saved as the average American Q31_19: Would you guess that you have more, less, or the same amount of money set aside in savings as the average American of your age? Options: More; About the same; Less 48 49% 29% 21%24% 32% 44% More About the same Less FT Freelancers FT Non Freelancers Savings compared to the average American of your age [Respondents who put money into savings last year]
  • 49. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 46% 38% 34% 32% 30% 23% 59% 58% 27% 14% 11% 10% FT Freelancers FT Non- Freelancers Q31_6: You said you put money into savings in the past year. What were you saving money for? Options: Retirement; Education; To sustain me between jobs; Emergency fund (i.e. to deal with major home repairs, car repairs, etc.); Buying a home; Big ticket purchases (i.e. taking a vacation, buyinga new car, etc.); Other (specify) 49 Emergency fund Retirement Big ticket purchases Buying a home To sustain me between jobs Education You said you put money into savings in the past year. What were you saving money for? [Respondents who put money into savings last year] Freelancers are more likely to save for between jobs, education, and home buying; non-freelancers are more likely to save for retirement
  • 50. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Saving is a common challenge for American workers 50 23% 45% 23% 56% I am on-track or prepared for retirement Have saved $5K or less in savings FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers Which of the following apply to you? Q31_18: Roughly, how much money do you currently have set aside in savings? Options: 0; 1-4999; 5,000-9,999; 10,000-20,999; 21,000-49,999; 50,000-99,999; 100,000+ Q31_27: And, which of the following apply to you? Options: I don’t feel anxious or concerned about day-to-day finances; I am on-track or prepared for retirement; I have a financial plan or goals; I am meeting or on-track to meet my financial goals; I have the ability to make debt or loan payments on time; I am prepared in case of a financial emergency; I understand my finances; I live within my means; I can currently afford to take two weeks of unplanned leave from work; None of the above
  • 51. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 19% 23% 33% 39% 41% 41% 71% High taxes Other High health care/health insurance costs I might need that money in the short term High housing costs I spent my savings to cover a short- term need / emergency My income is too unpredictable to set aside money for savings Full-time freelancers dip into savings more often. Of those who say they haven’t saved as much as an average American, top reason is unpredictable income Q31_20: What are the three biggest reasons you have not saved as much as the average American of your age? Options: My income is too unpredictable to set aside money for savings; High housing costs; High health care/health insurance costs; Student loans; High taxes; Lack of access to good savings tools; I might need that money in the short term; I’m just not good at saving; I spent my savings to cover a short-term need / emergency; Other Q31_23: About how often do you typically have to dip into your savings? Options: At least once a week; At least once a month; Every few months; About once a year; Never 51 Three biggest reasons Full-Time Freelancers have not saved as much as the average American of their age… 38% 6% 25% 14%14% 22% FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers At least once a week At least once a month Every few months 63% of Full-Time Freelancers dip into savings at least once a month (versus 20% of Full-Time Non-freelancers) How often do you typically have to dip into your savings? [FT Freelancers and FT Non-Freelancers]
  • 52. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Understanding of finances is lower among full-time freelancers, who say starting early and financial planning is key “I understand my finances” [FT Freelancers vs. FT Non-Freelancers] What has been your key to success at savings? [FT Freelancers who have saved more or equal to the average American] 57% 41% FT Freelancers FT Non-Freelancers Q31_27: And, which of the following apply to you? Options: I don’t feel anxious or concerned about day-to-day finances; I am on-track or prepared for retirement; I have a financial plan or goals; I am meeting or on-track to meet my financial goals; I have the ability to make debt or loan payments on time; I am prepared in case of a financial emergency; I understand my finances; I live within my means; I can currently afford to take two weeks of unplanned leave from work; None of the above Q31_21: What has been your key to success at savings? Options: Making saving a priority; Creating a monthly budget; Creating a long term financial plan; Having a financial advisor; Having easy access to savings tools or apps; Starting to save early; Living simply/living within my means; Taking on more clients or gigs; Other, please specify 52 32% 33% 34% 34% 36% Creating a monthly budget Making saving a priority Creating a long term financial plan Living simply/living within my means Starting to save early
  • 53. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 20% 17% 15% 24% 12% 9% 2% 25% 21% 16% 15% 12% 9% 2% Through a plan that I purchase myself Medicare Medicaid Through my employer’s plan Through my spouse’s plan Through my parents’ plan Other Total Freelancers FT Freelancers Full-time freelancers are more likely to purchase healthcare themselves How do you get your health insurance? [Freelancers/FT Freelancers Who Currently Have Health Insurance] 53 85% of Full-Time Freelancers have health insurance +5%pts since 2016 Q78_6: How do you get your health insurance? Options: Through my employer’s plan; Through a plan that I purchase myself; Medicare; Medicaid; Through my spouse’s plan; Through my parents’ plan; Other And 54% say their healthcare costs have risen in the past year
  • 54. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers are most likely to think that the Affordable Care Act has helped them and the majority prefer that Congress keep the ACA 54 60% prefer Congress keepthe Affordable Care Act ✓ 42% - Keep the Affordable Care Act but make changes to strengthen it ✓ 23% - Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it immediately with a different plan than is currently being debated ✓ 17% - Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the healthcare plan currently being debated in Congress ✓ 17% - Keep the Affordable Care Act as is 48% 19% 33% 42% 24% 35% Helped them No impact Hurt them How has the Affordable Care Act impacted each of the following groups? [Freelancers] Full-time freelancers Average American in traditional job Q74_4: Congress is currently debating repealing the Affordable Care Act and passing a new health care law. Which would you prefer Congress to do? Options: Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the healthcare plan currently being debated in Congress; Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it immediately with a different plan than is currently being debated; Keep the Affordable Care Act but make changes to strengthen it; Keep the Affordable Care Act as is Q74_5: In your opinion, how has the Affordable Care Act impacted each of the following groups? Options: Helped them; No Impact; Hurt them
  • 55. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 7 out of 10 freelancers prefer purchasing their own benefits Taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on your own Taking home less pay and receiving a benefits package from your employer or clients 70% 30% When it comes to benefits, which of the following options would you prefer? [Freelancers] Q78_9: When it comes to benefits, which of the following options would you prefer? Options: Taking home less pay and receiving a benefits package from your employer or clients; Taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on your own 55 (82% among Full-Time Freelancers) +4%pts since 2016
  • 56. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Politicians who advocate for freelancers may benefit, even winning votes across party lines Q74: If a candidate for political office supported your interests as a freelancer, how would that impact your vote? Options: Much more likely to vote for that candidate; Somewhat more likely to vote for that candidate; Somewhat less likely to vote for that candidate; Much less likely to vote for that candidate; It would make no difference Q103: If a candidate for political office indicated they supported freelancer interests, how open would you be to crossing party lines to support them? Options: Very open; Somewhat open; Not very open; Not at all open 56 of Freelancers will be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the interests of freelancers 67% of Freelancers are open to crossing party lines if a candidate indicated they supported freelancer interests 72%
  • 58. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 35% 19.8 M The freelance workforce: 5 freelancer segments 23% 13.0 M 31% 17.7 M 6% 3.4 M 6% 3.4 M Independent Contractors Diversified Workers Moonlighters Temporary Workers Freelance Business Owners -9 pts from 2014 +17 pts from 2014 -4 pts from 2014 +1 pts from 2014 -4 pts from 2014 Note: Due to rounding, percentages add up to more than 100% 58
  • 59. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 freelancers skew more male than U.S. workers overall 59% 41% 53% 47% Male Female What gender do you more closely identify with? Freelancers U.S. workers overall Q1: What gender do you more closely identify with? 59 -4 pts from 2014+4 pts from 2014
  • 60. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers skew younger; half are millennials Q2: What is your current age? 60 46% 48% 36% 27% 28% 54% 52% 64% 73% 72% 18-21 22-34 35-44 45-54 55+ Freelancer Participation by Age Freelancers Non-Freelancers
  • 61. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers have a slightly higher proportion of post-graduate degrees 31% 26% 24% 19% 35% 27% 24% 14% HS grad or less Some college +Associate Degree Bachelor's degree Post grad What is the highest level of school you have completed? Freelancers U.S. Workers Overall Q68: What is the highest level of school you have completed or the highest degree you have received? 61 +9pts from 2016 -4pts from 2014 -6pts from 2014
  • 62. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers live all over the country, though a slightly higher proportion live in urban areas 18% 19% 37% 25% 18% 22% 37% 23% Northeast Midwest South West What region do you live in? Freelancers U.S. Workers Overall 43% 40% 17% 35% 46% 19% Urban Suburban Rural What type of area do you currently live in? Freelancers U.S. Workers Overall Q70: What state do you live in? Q71: What type of area do you currently live in? Options: Urban; Suburban; Rural 62 +6pts from 2014 -3pts from 2014 55% of Full-Time Freelancers live in urban areas -3pts from 2014
  • 63. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 Freelancers' diversity is in line with the general population of U.S. workers 66% 15% 11% 5% 3% 68% 14% 10% 5% 3% White Hispanic or Latino African or African descent Asian-American/ Asian All others Which of the following best describes your ethnicity, racial background or heritage? Freelancers U.S. Workers Overall Q3A: Which of the following best describes your ethnicity, racial background or heritage? Options: White; African or African descent (black, African-American, Caribbean or Caribbean-American); Hispanic or Latino; Asian-American/ Asian; Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander; American Indian or Alaska Native; Middle Eastern; Other (specify); Prefer not to answer 63
  • 65. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 U.S. Workers Overall: U.S. adults 18+ who have earned income from work within the past 12 months, including both freelancers and non-freelancers. Freelancers: Individuals who have engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract- based work, within the past 12 months. Full-Time Freelancers: Individuals that describe their current freelance work status as “full- time freelancer.” Part-Time Freelancers: Individuals that describe their current freelance work status as “part- time freelancer.” Non-Freelancers: Individuals who earned income through work but have not engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12 months. Non-Freelancers Employed Full-time: Individuals that describe their current work status as “employed full-time” and do not do any additional work outside of their primary job to supplement their income. Glossary 65
  • 66. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 5 Segments of Freelancers Starting with the general U.S. workforce, each respondent ran through a series of questions that carefully qualified their employment status and income in order to detect freelancing activity that might otherwise go unrecorded. The following definitions and examples explain 5 segments of freelancers captured: 1. Diversified Workers (35% / 19.8 million) – People with multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional employers and freelance work. For example, someone who works part-time at a start-up, manages an Airbnb and does freelance coding. 2. Independent Contractors (31% of the independent workforce / 17.7 million professionals) – These “traditional” freelancers don't have an employer and instead do freelance, temporary, or supplemental work on a project-to-project basis. 3. Moonlighters (23% / 13.0 million) – Professionals with a primary, traditional job who also moonlight doing freelance work. For example, a corporate-employed web developer who does projects for non-profits in the evening. 4. Freelance Business Owners (6% / 3.4 million) – These freelancers have one or more employees and consider themselves both a freelancer and a business owner. For example, a social marketing guru who hires a team of other social marketers to build a small agency, but still identifies as a freelancer. 5. Temporary Workers (6% / 3.4 million) – Individuals with a single employer, client, job, or contract project where their employment status is temporary. For example, a data entry worker employed by a staffing agency who is working on a three-month assignment. In order to qualify, freelancers had to have earned freelance income within the past 12 months. 66
  • 67. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 This study commissioned by: Upwork Upwork is the world’s largest freelancing website. As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, knowledge work — like software, shopping and content before it— is shifting online as well. This shift is making it easier for clients to connect and work with talent in near real-time and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at a set time and place. Freelancers are earning more than $1 billion annually via Upwork. Upwork is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in San Francisco and Oslo, Norway. For more information, visit www.upwork.com, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Freelancers Union With over 360,000 members nationwide, Freelancers Union is the fastest-growing labor organization representing the independent workforce. We believe all workers should have the freedom to build meaningful, connected, and independent lives – backed by a system of mutual and public support. Freelancers Union members join together to build community, access benefits and educational resources, and form a powerful political constituency. For more information, visit www.freelancersunion.org. 67
  • 68. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 For more details go to: https://www.upwork.com/i/freelancing-in-america/2017/

Editor's Notes

  1. July 2017 civilian labor force: 160,000,000 FL: 35.8%
  2. US Workforce data sourced from BLS 2014: September 2017 2015: July 2015 2016: July 2016 2017: July 2017
  3. Trending Note: 2017 data on this slide cannot be trended back to 2014 due to the difference in questioning. This slide contains data for Q81_2, which asked respondents to input a number. In 2014, income was measured by asking the following: Q72: Which of the following best describes your annual personal income? (Personal, not household income) Less than $25,000 $25,000-$49,999 $50,000-$74,999 $75,000-$99,999 $100,000-$149,999 $150,000 or more Prefer not to answer Methodology: Calculated the average income from freelancing for each of the 5 freelance segments using Q31_2 “Over the past year, how much money did you earn in total from freelancing, before taxes or other deductions?” 2) Calculated estimated # of freelancers per segment using freelancer flowchart and BLS workforce estimate (July 2017 Employment Situation) 3) Multiplied the average income per segment x estimated # of freelancers per segment to get total contribution per segment 4) Added contributions from all 5 segments to get total estimated income contribution from freelancers overall
  4. IC: 40% in 2014; 36% in 2015, 35% in 2016 DW: 18% in 2014; 26% in 2015, 28% in 2016 Moonlighters: 27% in 2014; 25% in 2015, 25% in 2016 Temps: 10% in 2014; 9% in 2015, 7% in 2016 F Biz Owners: 5% in 2014; 5% in 2015, 7% in 2016 Increase in diversified workers was primarily between 2014 & 2015, driven by increased participation in sharing economy. Only a 2 pt increase from 2015 to 2016. For reference, numbers in charts are rounded and total over 100%
  5. July 2017 civilian labor force: 160,000,000 Total Freelancer: 57.3M