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The freelance economy - USA 2017

It is estimated that the majority of American workers will be involved in the freelance economy by 2027. Are you ready for it?

Survey findings by Edelman Intelligence
Survey findings by Edelman Intelligence

This post reproduces the key findings of an online studied of 6,000 adult workers conducted by Edelman Intelligence. The original research can be found here. The population surveyed was composed of two groups: freelancers, i.e. people who had taken some freelance assignments part-time or full time; and employees, i.e. workers who had not engaged in supplemental, project or contract jobs.


Based on this analysis, there are 57.3 million workers who freelanced in 2017. Since 2014, this group grew three times faster than the US work force. At this rate, the majority of US workers will be freelancers in 10 years.


Freelancers are more prepared to deal with the future.
  • 54% of the US workforce (both freelancers and employees) is doubtful that their current occupation will exist in 20 years.

  • Freelancers are more aware of the market changes taking place: 49% claim that their job has already been affected by artificial intelligence or robotics, vs only 19% employees.

  • Freelancers update their skills more often and believe they are ready for the future. 65% of full-time freelancers claim to update their skills as jobs evolve, vs 45% of full-time employees.


The perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive.
  • Full-time freelancers are driven by freedom and flexibility, while part-time freelancers focus on extra income and flexibility.

  • Freelancers increasingly think that having a diversified portfolio of clients is safer than relying on one employer.

  • Freelancers are increasingly finding their work online.


The social concerns of freelancers and employees are the same: access to affordable healthcare, credit and an ability to save.
  • 7 out 10 freelancers prefer to take home more pay and buy the benefits themselves, rather than taking home less pay and have benefits provided by an employer.

  • As the job market transformation continues, freelancers may become an increasing political group to reckon with.


This study reinforces the view that we are experiencing a revolution in the job market. Ideas, careers, planning, teaching conceived for the post-war world are losing their relevance. Yet the institutions and many people continue to operate under the old paradigms and often get frustrated by the changes.


You can fight the tide or surf it. Embracing the new reality and re-inventing yourself may be critical to your financial future Please share with us how the changes are affecting your life.

Thank you!




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