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Freelancing in America: 2017

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“Freelancing in America” is the most comprehensive study of the independent workforce. Commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, this study analyzes the size of the growing freelance economy and provides insights into the major role freelancers play in the future of work. In fact, based on this year’s findings it is predicted that the majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers within a decade (by 2027).

Published in: Recruiting & HR

Freelancing in America: 2017

  1. 1. Freelancing in America: 2017
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  8. 8. AI’s impact, Freelancing, and the future of work 8
  9. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  14. 14. Sizing the freelance workforce and the coming freelancer majority
  15. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  22. 22. What’s causing more people to freelance
  23. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 34. Technology is a driver of freelancing growth
  35. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  40. 40. Freelancers’ financials, economic impact and concerns
  41. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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%
  57. 57. Who freelancers are
  58. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  64. 64. Appendix
  65. 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. 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. 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. 68. Edelman Intelligence © 2017 For more details go to: https://www.upwork.com/i/freelancing-in-america/2017/

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