This post is from Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research and a regular contributor to SmallBusiness.com on topics related to the on-demand economy and independent workers (freelancers, sole proprietors, independent contractors, etc.) Disclosure: Emergent Research partnered with MBO Partners on the study described in this post.


MBO Partners, a company that provides software tools and operational solutions to independent consultants, released its 2015 State of Independence Report. For the survey, the term “independent worker” refers to people who regularly (in an average work week) work independently as a freelancer, “temp,” self-employed, etc. This is the 5th year this longitudinal study of independent workers has been conducted.

Key findings

30.2 Million | Total number of independent workers age 21 and up
17.8 Million | Full-time independent workers
12.4 million | Part-time independent workers
2.9 million   | Full-time independent workers who reported they earn more than $100,000 annually (up 45 percent from 2 million in 2011)
37.9 million | Predicted number of U.S. independent workers by 2020


control_time
“The ability to control my own schedule.”
The single-most cited factor for working independently (61 percent).


43% | Current full-time independent workers who say they feel more secure working independently (up from 33 percent in 2011)
79% | Independent workers who say they are happier due to being independent

More information about the survey and resources can be found on the MBO Partners website.