The stats in a FastCompany’s Leadership Now story headlined Why Everybody's Going Freelance caught my attention and should concern association executives and other association professionals.
The core numbers from the article:
- 17 million Americans self-identified as independent workers – as in freelancers, temps, self-employed consultants.
- This May 2013 number is up 10% from 2011.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that the total number of independent workers is predicted to grow to 24 million in the next five years.
- 36 percent are gen-Xers.
- 33 percent are baby boomers.
- 20 percent are millenials.
- 11 percent are matures.
- And equally male or female.
Four reasons why association executives should watch the number of freelancers?
- The trend may impact the number of potential candidates for open association staff positions and make it harder to find exceptional talent.
- The higher freelance numbers could impact association membership since dues and registration fees will be coming from the individual not his/her company budget. Paying for fees and expenses from one’s own pocket is much different than having your way paid.
- More freelancers potential reduces the amount of volunteers for boards, committees and the like. (When a salaried employee volunteers, he/she still gets a paycheck; but when a freelancer volunteers, it takes time away from potential billable hours thus reducing his/her income.)
- Meanwhile, more freelancers offer associations many choices for outsourced work.