The trending shift from full-time employment to contract-oriented work has grown at an astounding rate. In 2021, 51 million new independent contractors entered the freelance market, up 34% from 2020. There are multiple factors contributing to this trend, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Job security, work-life balance, and job satisfaction are the leading causes of this shift, and Millennials and Gen Z are leading the pack.
How the Great Resignation and Younger Generations Are Changing Traditional Employment
The Great Resignation is a term coined to describe the surge of employees that have retired or resigned in the last two years. During this time, many were furloughed or took on remote roles. People began contemplating their work-life balance, were tasked with juggling a career and caring for their families, and got a taste for remote work and the flexibility it provided.
The ripple this sent throughout the workforce created a shift in priorities and responsibilities that left many looking for a different career path. By mid-2021, quit rates hit historical highs, as did open jobs with a record 10.9 million. Millennials and Gen Z’s made up 68% of the newcomers in the independent contractor workforce.
While the Great Resignation details the number of employees that have left full-time employment and why the Great Realization explains the outcomes of the freelancing workforce. The MBO Partners annual State of Independence report found that 87% of those working independently are happier working and 78% are healthier on their own and feel more job security than they did in their traditional jobs.
Gig workers report more job satisfaction, a better work-life balance, schedule flexibility, and autonomy. They enjoy choosing the type of work they accept and the companies they choose to work with.
With this understanding of the current workforce trends, here are three key benefits of freelance work:
1. Independent Contractors Enjoy Extraordinary Career Opportunities
Being paid to do what we love is more attainable than ever before. Independent contractors have the unique opportunity to choose the type of service or product they will offer and the type of work they will agree to. Consider the portions of your full-time job that you excel in and enjoy. Now consider those duties that you would prefer to eliminate. A career in what you love is a reality for many freelancers.
While no job is perfect, many find that freelance work can eliminate portions of everyday responsibilities that lead to job dissatisfaction, burnout, and decreased productivity, while focusing on the work that brings them the most satisfaction.
Contracting with experts is a practice in which employers are finding real value. With more job vacancies than ever before and a desire to demonstrate agility in a quickly changing economy, companies are turning to contractors to fill short and long-term positions. Employers benefit by receiving the services of an expert-level professional without the full-time headcount and overhead associated with it.
A part-time contracting opportunity is a great way to earn supplemental income while building clientele and your own expertise in a chosen skill. Many choose this option as a path to slowly transition from traditional jobs to contract work.
Wages for independent contractors can vary widely depending on experience, industry, and profession. Many gig jobs are paid on an hourly basis. The number of hours billed to the client dictates earnings. Other contracts could be paid on a retainer or project basis. Regardless of the type of payment type, many contractors find that their earning potential is higher than their full-time jobs.
2. Work Flexibility
Contract work is a great way to take control of your career and personal life. The flexibility and work-life balance that gig life can provide are significant. This benefit is one that the younger generation of the workforce places a lot of emphasis on, explaining why this type of work is quickly growing among Millennials.
The flexibility of freelancing can be realized in many ways, including:
Having the flexibility to work when, where, and how much you want is a luxury that most independent contractors agree on is one of the most important benefits.
3. Online Platforms and Marketplaces Make It Easy to Find Clients
Many online platforms and contract marketplaces facilitate the union of contractors with clients. You can view available independent contract jobs and quote on opportunities that match your skills and fit within your schedule. The platforms also make managing projects, schedules, payments, and contracts convenient. TTA Connect is one example of an online freelancer platform, bringing together learning and development experts with clients searching for on-demand talent.
“TTA has helped me find interesting training jobs that I would never have found on my own. They provide me with a steady stream of work, so I can focus on doing the training versus looking for it! TTA Connect is excellent because it allows me to do everything from seeing my training schedule to submitting my invoices, all in one place.” – Patrick G.
Many other referral websites exist for similar purposes and a wide variety of niches. One such site, The Mom Project, has found quickly growing success with freelancing moms.
“I have connected with several long-term clients using The Mom Project. The high-caliber job postings combined with their ease of billing and contract management have made transitioning into full-time freelancing easier than I anticipated.” – Mandy B.
Enjoy the Opportunities, Flexibility, and Ease of Doing Business as an Independent Contractor
More people than ever before are leaving full-time employment to become independent contractors. Many agree that they are happier, healthier, and feel more job security than they did in traditional roles. As a freelancer, you can spend more time doing the tasks you love the most and could make more money doing it. The time and money to be saved from working from home and making your own schedule are other great perks. Also, using an online marketplace makes it easier than ever to become an independent contractor.
Interested in learning more about becoming a contractor? Read our blog: 10 Tips to Get Started as a Freelance Trainer.