One of the more interesting findings from this year's MBO Partners State of Independence study is that about 40% of adult Americans aged 21 or older have been independent workers (freelancers, self-employed, contractors, etc.) at some point during their lives.
This breaks out as about 8% of adult Americans who are currently independent and about 32% of those not currently independent - meaning they have a traditional job or are currently not in the labor force - have been an independent worker in the past.
The chart below shows past independent employment by those not currently employed as independents.
With the number of independent workers growing, it won't be long until the majority of Americans have worked as independents at some point in their careers. Our forecast is this will happen around 2020.
The implication of this data is quite clear - portfolio careers where people spend part of their work lives as freelancers, self-employed or independent workers of some sort is becoming increasingly common.
People need to understand, plan and prepare for periods of time where they will be self-employed.