According to the November 2013 Forbes article, How An Exploding Freelance Economy Will Drive Change In 2014:
One in three Americans (roughly 42 million) are estimated to be freelancers. By 2020, freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the full time workforce. Independent work is becoming more common across all generations and the vast majority plan to remain independent in the coming year .
Freelancing in 2014: 3 Pieces of Good News for Wannabe Freelancers
The article went on to make some predictions regarding freelancing in 2014. Following are three that stood out to me and means good news for those who may be considering testing the self-employment waters this year.
I. Larger Companies Will Hire More Freelancers
Small businesses have been the ones hiring the bulk of freelancers. It’s understandable, considering that it saves them on the expenses associated with hiring full-time employees (eg, insurance, unemployment insurance, contributing to 401Ks, etc.).
Larger companies are expected to hire more freelancers this year.
What does this mean for those who freelance? According to the Forbes article, “longer payment terms and stringent requirements around insurance, certifications, background checks and legal agreements.”
I’d add that it also means more money for freelancers, possible longer-term assignments and full-time employment for those freelancers who wish to transition.
When I ran my editorial staffing agency in New York years ago, larger companies were notorious for wanting to hire temps they liked full-time when a slot opened up. This is because they are already a proven entity, hence it saves them from having to recruit.
II. Mobile Technology Will Make Hiring Freelancers Easy
Finding an available freelancer can literally be done within a few minutes thanks to mobile technology. Most freelancers are easily accessible – 24/7/365.
I remember the old days of recruiting. Cell phones weren’t nearly as popular as they were now (and those that were didn’t have the internet), and things like the iPad and iPhones weren’t even invented yet. Back then, the easiest way to get in touch with a freelancer was to call them, leave a message and wait for them to get back to you.
Nowadays, almost everyone has a cell phone and is used to being plugged in all the time. So, you can send an email, which goes right to a cell/iPhone and the freelancer gets back to you instantaneously.
What does this mean for those who freelance? Companies can hire freelancers quicker and communicate with them about projects easier. This mobile technology also makes working with freelancers easier because they can log into an intranet, for example and have their jobs assigned, tracked, given feedback on and invoiced.
III. Freelancing Will Become More Mainstream
This is perhaps one of the most important observations of the Forbes article in my opinion. The article noted that freelance is usually counter-cyclical to full-time employment; meaning that when full-time employment was hard to come by, freelancing became more popular as a stop-gap measure until a good, full-time job could be found again.
What does this mean for those who freelance? Now, the above is no longer necessarily true. Nowadays, freelancing IS the career choice, as we discussed back in July in a The State of Freelancing column, noting:
While in the past many may have turned to freelancing as a stopover / stop gap measure on the way to their “real” career path, nowadays, freelancing is the real career.
Read the other predictions about freelancing in 2014, which discuss everything from the role the IRS will take in classifying independent contractors (freelancers) from employees, to the role that data analytics will play in the freelance economy.
It’s quite fascinating.
What Type of Jobs are Popular in the Freelance Economy
If you want to make a successful go of freelancing, finding the right niche is important. Get a head start – here are five of the most popular types of freelance jobs today.
Freelancing is indeed exploding – and it’s causing companies, the government and freelancers themselves to rethink how we as a society work.
Share Your Thoughts
What do you think freelancing will look like in 2014? Will freelancers earn more/less? What types of jobs do you think will be popular? Will more turn to freelancing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Hope you’re enjoying your weekend and are looking forward to the first full week of work in 2014.
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