Freelancers Will Have the Majority of Jobs in the Future

Cheryl Cran

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The rise of technology has enabled more people to create their lives around their work. A "life first" attitude is prevalent among millennials, and this attitude is quickly impacting all generations as human beings seek to have fulfilled lives—not work-filled lives.

With the increase of robotics and automation, the nature of work is rapidly changing. Jobs, as we know them to be today, will not be the jobs of tomorrow.

Freelancing allows workers to meet three needs:

  1. The need for freedom of where work is and how it's done
  2. The need for building work around life (flexibility)
  3. The need to control money to live life
The traditional workplace of the past post-industrial age suited the landscape of what people wanted. A post-war culture was looking for stability of jobs and guaranteed income to create a stable home for families.

Fast-forward to the technology age and the liberation technology has unleashed, and you have a collective, cultural narrative that is focused on living and working anywhere while creating one's best life.

Where post-war culture was based on survival, the lowest level of Maslow's hierarchy, we now have a massive, cultural shift toward self-actualization.

Uber is a freelance technology firm. I have talked to numerous Uber drivers in my travels, and every one of them cites the freedom, the flexibility, and the ability to earn as much or as little as they want as the key reasons they drive for Uber.

Firms like Upwork, Freelancer, and others are growing at exponential rates as more freelancers join and book projects.

Freelancers contribute approximately 1.4 trillion dollars to the economy annually.

One in three workers will freelance either as a part-time or a full-time activity.
47% of millennials freelance—more than any other generation.

In the future of work, employers won't be focused on hiring and retaining full or part-time workers; the focus will be on building a team of freelancers that they can rely on and call on as needed to run their businesses.

With the rise of robotics, jobs won't be lost as much as new jobs will be created, and this fact means freelancers will have the majority of those jobs that are created. Why?

Freelancers know they are only as good as their performance on their last project, therefore, they are constantly upgrading skills, staying on top of tech innovation, and actively seeking opportunities as they see them arise.

The good news for employers is that business in the future will consist of a combination of workers that will include some base, full-time employees. A percentage of workers will be part-time employees, and another percentage will be freelancers.

In traditional business, you would hire and train an employee to do the job and invest in a lot of training and skill development. In modern and future business, companies will hire more freelancers to fill the gaps of skills that your current team may lack.

A great example is a company that I consult for. They are a multimillion dollar manufacturer, and rather than hire a full-time graphics and web design firm, they have outsourced to a freelancer.

The freelancer provides all the benefits of having an in-house graphics and web design person without the added cost of a full-time salary, healthcare, benefits, etc.

There is a risk to freelancing: a freelancer not getting enough projects to pay the bills. However, the incentive to work hard and perform is high because of this same risk.

There is an opportunity for both workers and employers with the rise of freelancers for workers. There will be more options than ever to either supplement current earnings or travel the world while freelancing.

For employers, the rise of freelancers creates greater ability to leverage remote teams and hire for specific project skills.

Profitability and productivity will be positive as businesses leverage the types of jobs that require full-time, part-time, or freelance talent.

The only downside? Leaders need to get much better at leading diverse teams and leveraging talent to achieve results.

This article was originally published on Silicon Republic.

Cheryl Cran is a future-of-work expert and the founder of NextMapping.com, a future-of-work research and consulting firm that helps leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs be future-ready.

She is the author of six books, including her new one due out at the end of 2018 titled
, NextMapping—How Great Leaders Inspire People to Create the Future of Work.

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