Earlier this month we saw the release of data from the inaugural Independent Workforce Index, a study conducted by MBO Partners to examine independent work in the United States while providing the first national baseline for tracking trends and changes in the independent workforce.
In the study, MBO looked at a number of factors, including demographics, beliefs and motivations among this segment of the general workforce.
With knowledge of the dire economic climate across all industries fully intact, the Independent Workforce Index found that there are actually more and more professionals working, or moving to work, independently. Moreover, most of them are "more satisfied with their lifestyle choice" and would like to remain independent.
According to the findings, 28 million American workers (at least 21 or older) said that they will likely be independent in the next two years. Of that number, six out of ten have already taken action to become independent workers, while one-third of them have researched how to begin and one-fifth have started a business plan, talked with prospective clients or sought advice on the topic. In addition, 13 percent have applied for a business ID tax and 14 percent have begun building a website for their business.
"While the government has yet to offer meaningful data about the independent labor market movement, with our new study, we can for the first time share quantitative data about independent work and also offer deeper insights into the pioneers driving this new way to work," claims MBO Partners CEO Gene Zaino. "The study reveals that there are already more than 10 million independent experts, 70% of the independent workforce, offering specialized knowledge and skills to the open market. The study also sounds an important call -- suggesting the group could be mroe than 21 million strong in just three more years."
The MBO-sponsored survey produced some very interesting data. For instance, this new independent workforce spans gender and generation, with 16 million working Americans fitting the profile. Males make up 47 percent of the group, while 53 percent are female. Millenials (the best generation) are 12 percent; Gen X'ers take up the largest portion, at 49 percent; members of the Baby Boomer generation are about 30 percent of the workforce; and those who are 65 or older fill out the group at 10 percent.
In addition, the top three reasons for why people becamed independent were: a desire for greater work life flexibility (47%), a need or desire to earn more money (36%) and a concious planned decision to start a business (29%).
The average income of the independent worker in the U.S. is approximately $52,600.
Looking to provide help for those working, or seeking to work, independently, MBO Partners has created a new resource site to act as a central hub for independent workers, providing resources and ongoing information on the independent workforce movement in America. The company promises to spend the year capturing and sharing the stories of these workers and releasing new, additional data to examine trends concerning this part of the workforce, as well as the expert economy that drives those trends.
"Studying the behavior and needs of this population over time will yield information that will help us better understand and support the needs of this new workforce and is a way to spur overall productivity and entrepreneurial energy in our nation."