One of the more interesting findings from the Intuit On-Demand Economy (ODE) study is the large number of people who say learning new skills is a key reason they work in the ODE.
Across the entire sector, 17% of ODE workers listed this as a reason.
About 1 in 3 creatives listed this as a reason and over 40% of those working in IT listed this.
Additionally, about one third (32%) listed "wanted to try something new" as a reason for working in the ODE.
These findings are why the Information Age article Rise of the IT Freelancer jumped out at us. We used part of the key quote in our article title:
"As a freelancer my career is a constant classroom – unlike university though, it’s one where I can earn money for attending."
The article describes the variety of systems the author has learned "on the job" as a freelancer. It also describes the various sources the author used to learn new languages and systems.
This echos what we often hear in our interviews and focus groups with independent workers.
This is also a key reason moonlighters are moonlighting. A bit over 40% of ODE workers who also report having a full-time job say learning new skills is one of the reasons they working in the ODE.
Driving this is the decline in corporate training. Because of this decline, more people are seeking side gigs to learn new skills to improve their chances of advancing.
While we are seeing a pick-up in corporate training - corporations are starting to realize they need to increase their training efforts to stay competitive - we continue to believe more people will turn to the ODE to learn new skills.
BTW, the article ends with the author pointing out another benefit of freelancing that comes up often in our research:
"It also gives me the flexibility outside of work to spend time with my family and organise work around life, rather than the other way around."