Late in August Deloitte released survey results under the headline Deloitte survey finds 67 percent of Americans who have worked as independent contractors would choose not to do so in the future.
This led to a series of articles suggesting that this shows the gig economy is doomed because no one wants to be a freelancer (click here for an example from Forbes)
More recently the Staffing Industry Analysts released their Gig Workforce study. They found about 60% of U.S. workers prefer traditional employment over being a gig worker.
We've been getting a lot of questions about these studies and what they mean.
Here are our answers:
Of course most Americans don't want to be gig workers. We and others have studied this topic for many years. The research consistently shows that while most Americans see the advantages of being an independent worker, they don't want to deal with the risk. In particular, the lack of predictable income is simply too scary to many.
So the SIA finding that roughly 60% of Americans prefer a traditional job is not surprising. In fact, it's very close to our findings.
As for the Deloitte findings, most of the people in their gig worker respondent pool are former gig workers. They quit being independent workers and got a traditional job. So comes as no surprise that most of them say they don't want to return to freelancing. If they'd liked it, they probably wouldn't have quit in the first place.
But a large percentage of Americans do want to be gig workers: This is clearly shown by the SIA's study, which found about 40% of the workforce prefers gig work. That's about 60 million Americans.
It's also shown in the Deloitte study, where almost half (48%) of those who had been independent workers were very satisfied with their experience. This despite most of them having stopped being independent workers.
And, of course, it's clear from all the research that current independent workers are highly satisfied with independent work. The most recent example of this is the just released UpWork/Freelancers Union study which found:
More than three-quarters (79%) of freelancers said they view freelancing as better than working at a traditional job with an employer.
Since 60 million Americans prefer gig work, and almost 80% of existing gig workers prefer gig work, it seems hard to argue no one wants to be a freelancer.