We all seek freedom and independence at one time or another throughout our lifetime. Whether it be the freedom to make your own decisions when you first live on your own or to get yourself from point A to B when you get your license, we typically associate this desire for freedom with youth, but seeking control of our lives is a desire that continues with us throughout our entire lives. The Covid-19 pandemic was a reckoning for many to finally take a leap and reclaim their sense of control regarding work-life balance. A new National Bureau of Economic Research study found that about 15% of the workforce are now independent contractors. We say this because informal work and side hustles continue to make complex data hard to tape down as the gig economy rises. The report’s synopsis describes the contractor workforce as “elusive” due to a myriad of factors, including the miscoding of contract workers who work on multiple projects for a company. The findings of this study have implications for the economy and the demographic profile typically associated with contract workers. The study found millions more Americans are self-employed than previously estimated by reports like the 2022 survey from the freelancing platform Upwork. More than impacting the work culture, economy, and overall data, this trend has become the new norm, not seeming to be going anywhere for awhile. What can you do with this information?
Start including independent contractors in your book of business. Consider what you can offer contractors to incentivize them to work for you, not the competition. For example, separate benefits with no employer sponsor and no open enrollment periods offer the flexibility contract workers need regarding benefits.