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There’s a trend rising in the economy, especially within members of my own generation. Millennials love freelancing. Like, a lot. And when you look at the type of work freelance often entails, it’s no wonder.
An estimated 47 percent of all freelancers are millennial, the most out of any other generation. Everyone from graphic designers to writers, photographers, and website builders are finding a place in the freelance economy.
But why is freelance predicted to be the majority portion of the workforce by 2027 and why are millennials filling the majority of the demand in the freelance economy?
It’s in the DNA of freelance.
The rise in freelance work can be attributed pretty closely to the type of work freelance is. It tends to be creative, free, and less structured than the rest of the economy. A lot of people are beginning to see the lackluster nature a lot of traditional “9–5's” have. The hours are often more than they’d like. The pay is never as good as they want. The time-off is always too little.
This craving for freedom and for potentially higher-paying work is leading labor to the freelance sector of the economy. People are using skills either newly-developed or long-held on websites like Fiverr or Upwork to sell their skills. I think this shift in less-structured work and payout is indicative of a wider change in what we value as an economy.
It’s a lot easier to be jobless when freelancing, especially if you’re not too good at you what you do. Freelance work is skill-centered, meaning it relies on possessors of said skills to speak up and offer their skills for a price. It’s also skill-centered in a literal sense, the more skilled you are at what you do, the more clients and higher payouts you’ll likely receive.
This is a stark difference from the kind of corporate grooming America has seen for the last half-century. In the good ol’ days, you entered a company with not much actual skill, but with plenty of education and a shiny new Bachelor’s degree under your belt. Then you learned the skills necessary to do your job as they were taught to you by the company.
There’s no boss but you in freelance work. If you don’t have the skills necessary for a certain job, you either learn them, or you don’t get paid. It can be a lot more daunting than traditional work, but also more rewarding depending on your style of work.
Why Millennials Freak for Freelance
Millennials love freelance so much because it lines up almost perfectly with our values and ideals. Millennials are often touted as the generation that can’t afford assets, the generation who lives at home longer than any other, or the ones who won’t be cashing a dime out of social security.
This is a topic for another post (that I will write), but I’d argue that those are all results from forces outside of our control. For all the heat the younger generation gets, millennials are the most educated generation. We value learning and gaining new skills.
Freelance also coincides with the free spirit in a lot of millennials. Our generation, for whatever reason, values freedom of thought and expression and the ability to work in an unrestricted environment. All of these are available in freelance work.
For the generation that grew up with or was at least heavily exposed to the internet, it’s a hub where we can offer doing something we enjoy for a livable wage. I can’t deny I’d love to see an economy where more of us can do what we’re passionate about, utilize our specific skills, and enough money to live. On our terms and on our timeline.