Freelancing is the new normal. For you, our members, this fact will likely not come as much of a surprise. But now we have the numbers to prove it.
Nearly 54 million Americans are now doing freelance work, according to a new study conducted by the independent research firm Edelman Berland and commissioned by Freelancers Union and Upwork.
This is big. Not only are more Americans freelancing, but 60 percent of freelancers made the jump by choice -- up 7 percentage points from last year.
This is more than just a new way of working -- it represents a significant political shift. 86 percent of the nation’s freelancers are likely to vote in 2016, and 62 percent are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports freelancers’ interests.
Unfortunately, elected officials don’t fully understand the breadth of freelancer issues. Without employer-sponsored benefits, freelancers need help affording health care and saving for retirement. They suffer anxiety and isolation due to unpredictable income. They have a virtual lack of recourse against wage theft. They lack a sound social safety net. It’s clear that this new era of work requires new solutions.
Freelancers are a significant political constituency, and politicians need to start listening.
These numbers show us that the new economy is here -- and freelancers are leading it.
We need to come together as a community and rethink the kind of benefits, protections, and supports American workers need, regardless of the work they do or whom they work for.
Are you proud to be a leader in the new economy? Share our findings with your network and let the world know!