One of the more interesting data points from the MBO Partners State of Independence surveys is how independent workers (freelancers, temps, self-employed, etc.) look at job security.
In our 2012 survey, 39% of the respondents said independent work is more secure than traditional employment. This is up from 33% who said independent work is more secure in 2011.
While we've only been asking this specific question for 2 years, we've asked similar questions in the past. Before the Great Recession, about 15% of independent workers considered independent work more secure.
Based on our interviews and focus groups, there are several reasons why a growing group of independent workers think independence is more secure.
The primary reason is they're not under the control of a single employer or boss. Because they have a multiple clients and/or revenue streams, they feel they are much less likely to lose all of their income like they would if they lost a job. In other words, independence allows them to spread employment risk across multiple employers.
They also feel more secure because they are in control of their destiny instead of being at the mercy of arbitrary or incompetent bosses and corporate decision making.
Finally, traditional jobs are broadly perceived as being much less secure than in the past. This makes independent work look more secure.
When we dug deeper into the data we weren't surprised to find highly successful independent workers -those making $100k + per year and those who are highly satisfied with independence - are much more likely to feel more secure than other independent workers.
But the trend towards seeing independent work as more secure is growing across all independent worker income and satisfaction levels.
No doubt the Great Recession is having an impact on these views. But it's also true the traditional employment contract is broken and traditional jobs no longer are secure as they once were. Independent workers clearly recognize this shift.