Business sectors across Georgia are set for another year of growth, and if the state’s expanding population follows national trends, many of the jobs may be performed by freelancers. The number of freelancers across the U.S. has increased more than 3.7 million over the last five years, and freelance workers are expected to make up over half of the nation’s workforce in the near future. What’s driving this growing interest in alternative career paths?
The idea of work-life balance has taken center stage for many Americans in recent years. Workers are looking for ways to maintain a healthy equilibrium between the time they spend on their careers and hours dedicated to family, friends and personal health. Freelancing allows them to schedule their own work time around appointments and events instead of having to use personal or sick days.
Millennials entering the workforce are influencing the employment landscape with their unique views on jobs. They’re a picky age group with specific desires and requirements for prospective employers, and this makes freelancing all the more attractive. With all the freelance platforms available on the internet, it’s possible to pick and choose a variety of jobs from diverse employers, going where skills are needed instead of waiting to be assigned relevant tasks in a traditional work setting. Not being tied down to one employer means millennials and other freelancers aren’t obligated to stay with a particular company if work dries up or the relationship isn’t a good fit.
Technological infrastructure has expanded in recent years to reach areas where tools like high-speed internet were hard to come by and freelancing was the stuff of dreams. Today, most people have access to high-quality internet connections within their budgets or live close enough to connected businesses like restaurants, coffee shops and co-working spaces for freelancing to be a viable career choice. More powerful smartphones and tablets make it possible to work on the go, so freelancers never have to miss deadlines because they’re away from their “desks.”
While only 61 percent of people in traditional careers report being satisfied with their jobs, 71 percent of freelancers say they’re content. This may have something to do with a greater sense of security reported by the 63 percent of freelancers who feel a “diverse portfolio of clients” is a safer way to work than being tied down to one employer. Because businesses are always looking for professionals with strong skills, freelancers may be less likely to face a shortage of jobs.
Freelancing can be hard work, but statistics show the majority of Americans prefer the challenge over standard nine-to-five careers. As more people turn side gigs into full-time jobs, the business landscape of Georgia and the whole nation may experience a shift toward flexibility and selectivity, allowing workers greater freedom of choice and businesses better access to relevant skills sets necessary for growth.
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