The world of work is changing. The new face of the American workforce and an increasing portion of the international workforce is more independent, engaged and better able to deliver results, services, and products than the traditional monolithic corporation.
To get a better understanding of this shift, Field Nation conducted a comprehensive analysis of the three areas that have combined to form the nexus of this new reality of work: the shift away from traditional employment and towards contract expertise, the disruption of work as we used to know it, and the newly engaged workforce.
Recently, we discussed “Independent Contractors are Committed to Their Client’s and Their Own Success” as the fourth of five key insights which emerged from a study conducted by Field Nation of the contractors who had registered for free on its platform. The study measured engagement and complementary factors, such as how independent service providers view themselves. The results showed that the independent contracting community has an incredibly high degree of relatedness that is not seen in other remote-workforce applications. This is found both in the dual commitments they hold to their own business and their customer’s businesses, as well as their commitment to the success of their customer.
- Read Part 1: The Outsourcing Appetizer
- Read Part 2: The Organization – Individual Inversion
- Read Part 3: The Evolution of Communication and Collaboration Technology
- Read Part 4: The Great Recession
- Read Part 5: An Emerging Culture of Passion
- Read Part 6: The Disengagement Disruption
- Read Part 7: Freelance Disrupts Full-Time
- Read Part 8: Freelancers Chose Freelancing
- Read Part 9: Freelancing Provides an Important and Regular Income Stream
- Read Part 10: Independents are Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners
- Read Part 11: Independent Contractors are Committed to Their Client’s and Their Own Success
Chapter Three: The New Engaged Workforce
Finding Five: Freelancers are Overwhelmingly Satisfied with Their Work
The fifth and final finding from the Field Nation study on independent contractor engagement is that they are far more satisfied with their daily work than their traditionally employed counterparts. When asked about their satisfaction with both their daily work and overall career, the results were overwhelmingly satisfied.
On a day to day basis, 97% reported that they were satisfied with what they do. Of those who indicated they were satisfied, over 63% stated, “I love what I do.”
When looking at the big picture, 95% reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their career as an independent contractor. When compared to the percentage who originally chose the freelance path, this finding suggests that, even when people start freelancing out of economic necessity, they grow to value and embrace the career choice.
This stands in sharp contrast with the mere 30% of traditional, full-time employees who Gallup finds are engaged and satisfied with their jobs in the U.S.
The incomparably high satisfaction and engagement scores of the independent contracting workforce evident in the Field Nation study provide strong justification for the claim that the best employee in your organization may not work for you; he or she may work for him or herself. Similarly, the best business to work for may actually be your own.
The autonomy inherent to a freelance career, the deep expertise (i.e. competence), and the relatedness and continued success as an independent requires, create the strongest pillars of the newly engaged workforce. Modern organizations, both large and small, must recognize that their continued success depends on connecting and building relationships with this highly skilled, engaged workforce in order to get work done.
When you put it all together, it means that the freelance workforce, and specifically the independent contracting workforce present on Field Nation, is arguably the most engaged workforce in the world.
Conclusion: The New Face of the American Workforce
The new face of the American workforce is independent, online and committed to controlling their own future. This workforce understands that success requires more than showing up. It requires activated expertise that delivers on time, on budget and on site. It requires insight and availability that is local and able to access needed materials as they are needed. The future of this newly engaged workforce is empowered by cloud platforms like Field Nation which connect expertise supply with expertise demand in an ecosystem of exchange and management.
In this report, we have covered the five reasons for the shift from full-time to freelance. These reasons are:
- The appetite for on-demand expertise outside of the organization that started with global outsourcing.
- The inversion of the traditional organization – individual hierarchy wherein organizations are no longer proxies for expertise; rather, individuals are now primary.
- The evolution and emergence of communication and collaboration technology that facilitate engagement with expertise anywhere it is needed and management of projects without cumbersome infrastructure and headcount.
- The Great Recession of the late 2000s that drove many individuals to seek out freelancing opportunities.
- The emerging culture of passion which encourages and rewards working in ways which delight you and thereby drive individual productivity and engagement.
We then examined the two disruptions that have profoundly affected employment topology. These are:
- The Disengagement Dilemma wherein traditionally employed full-time workers are strikingly disengaged, disappointed and disinterested in their jobs, costing the U.S. economy as much as $550 billion in lost productivity each year.
- The Freelance Disruption which finds businesses increasingly turning to a contingent and independent workforce to meet their needs and solve their problems.
The paper then discussed the five research revelations that show how this freelance workforce is overwhelmingly more engaged, more satisfied and more committed to success than their traditional counterparts. These five research revelations are:
- Independent contract workers overwhelmingly chose the freelance lifestyle.
- Independent contracting provides a non-trivial and regular income stream for most, rather than occasional or supplemental earnings.
- Independent contractors consider themselves to be entrepreneurs and small business owners, demonstrating a clear focus on growth and opportunity.
- Independent contractors are overwhelmingly committed to success: both theirs and their customer’s.
- Independent contractors are overwhelmingly satisfied with their work.
Together, these five revelations support the scientific basis for an engaged workforce: autonomy, connectedness and competence. Together, these show that the best employee may not actually work for you. Together, these show that the best company to work for may be you own.
This is the new face of the American workforce.
This is Field Nation.
Get Work. Done.