This may not be the happiest news in the world, but it’s part and parcel of what we deal with as a nation. Welcome to the world of the independent contractor, which may be almost half of us by 2020. We already know the lifestyle. It’s nice to know that at least some media outlets are starting to report on this.
The gig economy is coming. You probably won’t like it.
Say goodbye to salaries, health insurance, and vacation days. Forty percent of America’s workforce could be freelance by 2020.
By Brandon Ambrosino
KAGE YAMI is a ninja for hire.
For the past four years, the 27-year-old Newton resident has worked as a professional stunt performer for films and TV shows being made in the Boston area, like Ghostbusters, set for release this summer. Sometimes work takes him to New York. Sometimes California. Sometimes he models. Basically, he says, he takes on “whatever gig comes my way.”
Yami is one of a growing number of workers participating in the “gig economy,” the hip-sounding term used to describe those Americans who make their livings in nontraditional ways — nontraditional meaning “in ways not limited to a 9-to-5 job” or, framed in less optimistic terms, “in ways that don’t usually offer health insurance.”
According to a 2014 study commissioned by the Freelancers Union, 53 million Americans are independent workers, about 34 percent of the total workforce. A study from Intuit predicts that by 2020, 40 percent of US workers will fall into this category.
Then feel free to chime in yourself. What do you think? Any ideas for stabilizing the coming independent workforce tsunami? What would you like to see by way of a sustainable social safety net? In case you didn’t know, the independent workforce is now about 1/3 of the US economy. The same statistic holds true of independents in Arlington, Mass.