Self-employment is a rising trend in the American workforce


They don’t need a corner office or a gold watch. They need their freedom, a new study of American workers says.

Millions of workers are happily leaving corporations and becoming self-employed, according to Fresh Books’ second annual Self-Employment Report.

And, the report added, this revolution in how Americans work will only grow over the next few years.

“Climbing the corporate ladder is no longer the American dream. Over the last few years a significant mindset shift has taken place and with it has emerged a workforce which values flexibility over stability,” the report said.

Fresh Books offers accounting and invoicing software services designed for self-employed professionals, thousands of whom it surveyed  along with thousands of workers who have traditional jobs.

The report defines self-employed professionals as those whose primary income is from independent client-based work.

Those nontraditional workers who will approach 33 percent of the workforce in coming years  want more control over how and why they work, the report said. Most won’t return to an organization, it said, adding that the self-employment movement will explode over the next two years.

Some 27 million Americans will leave full-time jobs from now through 2020, bringing the total number of self-employed to 42 million, Fresh Books officials said.

That compares with 126 million Americans working full-time jobs in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So what is up with this move to have your own gig?

“We hear from customers and workers in general that they like the freedom to choose their own clients and choose the work they are doing,” said Carly Moulton, a co-author of the report. She added that “97 percent of them said they don’t want to return to traditional work.”

A few years ago, added Dave Cosgrave, another study co-author, most people expected to work for a corporation for a long time.

“Now so many people are looking into the future and seeing a strong possibility of self-employment.” He added that many young people today don’t ever expect to work for others.

The report confirms the findings of another study in 2016 that found “a significant rise in the incidence of alternative work arrangements in the US economy from 2005 to 2015.”

Nontraditional workers in America rose “from 10.1 percent in February 2005 to 15.8 percent in late 2015,” according to the study, “The Rise and Nature in Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015” by Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger.

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