When I was in the midst of my 18-year corporate career, corporate life was all I knew and all I focused on. While I saw other people in my life who were successful entrepreneurs and independent workers, somehow I thought I wouldn’t be capable of forging my own path successfully. I’d grown up with a father who was a loyal General Electric guy for 30 years (with seven patents and a long history of success), and that was my model for a rewarding career. The problem was, after I hit 40, the challenges I faced in my corporate life far outweighed the positives, and the trajectory I was on no longer fit my personal preferences, style and values.
After a brutal layoff in the days following 9/11, I decided that I no longer would allow myself to be at the whim of a corporate employer. I wanted more control and authority over my work and life. So I took the reins and began to steer my own course, first with independent work then launching my own small business. And I’ve never looked back.
Turns out millions of professionals in the US have felt as I have and done something about it. Many have found that independent work and running their own businesses has many amazing benefits that can pave the way for more control, leadership, flexibility, reward and success.
To learn more about the state of independent workers, I was excited to catch-up with Gene Zaino, President and CEO of MBO Partners to hear more about the 2015 State of Independence research they’ve conducted. MBO Partners is the largest provider of independent contractor engagement solutions. Their top line data demonstrates that the full-time independent workforce – with close to 18 million workers earning a significant portion or all of their income outside of traditional employment – is a permanent and rapidly growing portion of the American economy. In addition to these full-time independents, there are 12.5 million “side-giggers,” who take on part-time independent work.
This infographic shares some key data tracking the rise of the independent workforce in America and independent workers’ changing lifestyles, motivations, and satisfaction over the last five years.
- The American labor market has fundamentally transformed: Over the last five years, the overall economy grew by 7%, but the independent workforce saw 12% growth, with close to 18 million full-time independent workers in 2015.
- Growth in the independent workforce will continue: 4 in 5 independents plan on staying independent, and 1 in 7 non-independent workers plan to join the group in the coming years.
- Independent lifestyle is better than ever: The number of top-earners making $100,000 or more as independents has ballooned 45% since 2011, and 4 in 5 independents say they are happier being independent.
Here’s what Gene shared:
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