Time's This is Why You Should Consider Dumping Your Traditional Job covers data from the 2015 MBO Partners State of Independence study showing that 79% of independent workers are happier working on their own.
The article also points out:
To some extent, the study’s findings are to be expected. The majority of those surveyed say that, for a variety of reasons, they voluntarily chose the independent work life over more traditional gigs. So it’s no surprise nearly two out of three independent workers report being “very satisfied” with their work situation, and why four out of five plan on staying independent. After all, most of them consciously decided to pursue this style of work.
The survey, which we worked on, was constructed to provide a statistically valid sample of all independent workers (self-employed, contractors, freelancers, etc.) in the U.S.
We had 1565 respondents with a margin of error of +/- 2%. Prior to this survey, we conducted a screening survey (1006 respondents, margin of error +/-3%) to size this population.
This is the 5th year we've done this survey, so we're extremely confident of our results and that they represent the U.S. population of independent workers.
But the Time article points out a bias in this type of survey work, which is called "survivor bias". Our surveys capture the motivations and attitudes of existing independent workers.
We don't capture the attitudes and motivations of those who tried independent work, but returned to traditional jobs. These folks likely weren't as happy or satisfied as those who continue working as independents.
Survivor bias is a common survey problem. Two of our favorite examples are surveys of small business owners and customer satisfaction surveys.
In this case we don't believe survivor bias significantly affects our survey results.
To check this we recently surveyed people who left independent work and returned to traditional jobs to better understand their attitudes and motivations. We will report on the findings of this work in the near future.