The talent game for big employers is changing. While firms have traditionally competed with each other for talent, now they are competing with another alternative: going independent. To better understand who is going independent and why, and what this might mean for companies, researchers conducted an online survey of 307 independent consultants and 94 traditionally employed consultants in Europe and North America, in October 2018. Among their findings: most (90%) independent workers said they proactively chose to start independent consulting. The data suggests that not only are they more satisfied with their current professional life than the employed consultants, but they are also earning more or at least the same as when they were employed, despite working fewer days. The researchers also found that women and millennials seem to especially value the benefits of going independent, from more flexible hours to more equitable pay. The task for companies, they say, is to reconfigure the offer they make to their most talented people, before they leave to strike out on their own.
Surveys of workers in the U.S. and Europe have found that approximately 25-35% say they freelance for some portion of their work income. While the popular conception of gig workers tends to center on lower skilled and lower compensated gig work such as drives on Lyft or services on TaskRabbit, recent UK research revealed that 59% of the gig economy are knowledge and professional workers and only 16% drivers and delivery workers.