Not so long ago when we thought of freelancers, we pictured a small pool of temporary workers hired to fill in the gaps. When an employer needed a graphic designed on-the-fly or someone to cover for an employee for an extended period to time, they would hire a freelancer. But today, freelancers represent a far greater portion of the workforce – estimates show that by 2020, we can expect freelancers to make up as much as 40% of it; and that same study goes on to explain that a good portion of these workers are millennials.
Current graduates can expect to hold ten times as many different jobs as baby-boomers, and for reasons like work-life balance, compensation and workplace satisfaction, they’re looking to change the way they look at their careers. As of 2015, millennials are the most populous generation in the workforce, which will continue to grow as baby-boomers leave it.
With millennials serving as the fastest-growing segment of the modern global workforce, what is it about freelancing that they enjoy? And why have so many chosen to structure their employment in this way? We interviewed several millennial freelancers to find out.
The Rewards of Variety and Independence
Working with freelancers is a different experience than working with standard W2 employees, a structure that employers may find beneficial. The beauty of engaging freelance workers is that in selecting a contractor who has the ability to pick and choose their work, an employer is likely to attract freelancers who want to do the work.
Whether it’s selling goods on Etsy, renting living space on Airbnb, or driving via Uber or Lyft, there are a lot of options for an independent millennial. Most office employees hit a plateau at some point in their careers, due in part to repetitive tasks that drive boredom and a sense of unfulfillment. Freelance workers, on the other hand, have the option of variety. This makes them more engaged than the average office worker as freelancers have more agency.
According to Derrick Kwa, a freelance web developer: “[Freelancing] actually does give me more engagement with my job, because it’s directly my responsibility. Without a boss that I can hide under, I have more direct ownership of what I produce – which leads to a higher engagement with my work.”
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This article was originally published online by Freelancers Union and was written by Mynul Khan, founder and CEO of Field Nation.