|Do people really still freelance? A new survey from the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk titled “Freelancing in America” says yes, showing that more and more are deciding to take the plunge and became a freelancer.Polling 5,000 American adults who had all done paid work in the last 12 months, the survey found that 77% were hopeful about doing freelance work in the future, and 65% said that they found freelancing to be a more respectable career option these days.Data from the Freelancers Union supports this finding. According to the Union, there are 53 million people in the U.S. who freelance — an increase of 11 million from just a few months ago. Now, freelancers make up about 34% of the U.S. workforce, finds the report. These non-traditional workers are contributing a whopping $715 billion in earnings to the economy.
But how and why is the economy is undergoing such a shift? Where did all these freelancers come from?
Simply put, companies have a lot of work that needs to be done on an as-needed basis. According to Mashable, 62% of companies today outsource their content marketing. To give you a better, more realistic idea of just how big of a demand for freelancers there is, more than 20,000 studies on marijuana and its components have been published, many (if not most) of which were likely written by freelancers — and that’s just one small niche topic.
The trend is not expected to end soon, either. In fact, experts believe that by 2020, self-employed freelancers will make up half of the U.S. workforce.
“The freelance economy is exploding at exactly the same moment that companies are undergoing a major shift in how they hire,” said the co-founder of WorkMarket, Jeff Wald. “Talent is moving from a fixed cost to a variable cost, with companies staffing up and down as needed.”
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Fabio Rosati, CEO of online freelance marketplace Elance, said that the workforce of tomorrow will worry more about being employable, rather than employed.
Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about CVs and resumes, and start worrying about portfolios and recommendations.