Women are returning to the part time workforce after having children, at increasing rates. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labour, mothers with young children (under 6 yrs. old) worked 57% of the time in 2010 of which 30% percent of these moms would only consider working part time. Among moms with children ages 6 to 17 in the home, 70.5% worked, and ~30% were only interested in part time work. Often, spouses have benefits provided for their family and this provides the flexibility of Mom’s to work part time while still having time to be available when the kids get on the bus in the morning and do homework with their children.This talent pool is often highly skilled professional women that love the opportunity to work remotely (from home) or within a short commute.

Full time workers that want to stay challenged and don’t have the opportunity to get paid more by adding hours. They add hours to their schedule doing consulting (freelance) work, in the evening and on weekends.

During and subsequent to the great recession (ending June 2009) companies cut the number of employees and managed their way to increased profitability, not by growing the top line, but by doing more with less. What that resulted in was a stressed out and over worked employment pool, and another pool of unemployed highly skilled workers that started to freelance or work part time sometimes for multiple companies and found that it afforded a more flexible lifestyle while still earning similar if not more compensation. Then the ACA was enacted, and the freelance labour pool for the first time had access to obtain affordable healthcare coverage at the same price as a traditional W-2 Wage employee. In summary, freelancers could have affordable healthcare, a more dynamic work environment, flexibility that previously was not available, and no longer have to take a job they simply don’t want.

Q. What is the breakdown of the 53 million people participating in the freelance economy?

According to Elance, the breakdown of the freelance is as follows:

  1. Independent Contractors - people who are self-employed - 40% or 21mm
  2. Moonlighters – Professionals with a traditional job who does extra work in their free time 27%, or 14.3mm
  3. Diversified Workers - People who do multiple types of work makes up 18%, or 9.3mm
  4. Temporary workers – Individuals working for a single employer, typically for contract.10% or 5.5 million

Freelance Business Owner – A business owner who is both a freelancer and a small business owner 5% or 2.8mm.

Q. Why do companies want to outsource job functions?
  1. To not pay someone 40 hours a week for a 30 hour a week position,
  2. To remain flexible in an uncertain environment
  3. To keep from paying higher health care benefits
  4. To save on real estate, utilities, and equipment costs (remote outsourcing).

US Freelance Statistics

The Freelancers Union “53 million” report contains data results of the most comprehensive survey of the U.S. independent workforce in nearly a decade. Here are a few of the main stats from the report:

  1. There are 53 million people doing freelance work in the US – 34% of the national workforce
  2. People who freelance contribute an estimated $715 billion in freelance earnings to our economy
  3. Twice as many freelancers have seen an increase in demand in the past year as have seen a decrease – 32% experienced an increase versus 15% who have seen a decrease
  4. 80% of non-freelancers say they would be willing to do work outside their primary job to make more money
  5. Earning extra money (but not financial necessity) and schedule flexibility are the top drivers of freelancing
  6. Finding work and, correspondingly, income stability are the top barriers to doing more freelancing work
  7. 69% of freelancers said technology has made it easier to find freelance work
  8. 77% of freelancers say the best days are yet ahead for freelancing
  9. 65% said freelancing as a career path is more respected today than it was three years ago
  10. 36% of moonlighters who have a primary job have thought about quitting to work completely independently