More Than 50 Percent of U.S. Private Workforce Will Be Independent by 2020, Report Says

More than 50 percent of the U.S. private workforce will be independent by 2020, according to a report published today by MBO Partners. The MBO statement is one of five predictions that the consulting firm makes in its 2012 Independent Work Preview.

The report says:

One is the New Majority. The US is entering the fast lane on the road to the independent majority. By the year 2020, MBO Partners predicts that 70 million people, more than 50 percent of the private workforce, will be independent. This shift toward a new workforce will accelerate in 2012 as both individuals and organizations embrace new models of work.

Flexibility and autonomy are two key drivers of the trend, according to the report, which also says that worker mindsets will change:

The new generation of independent workers will adopt a “make my own way solopreneur” mindset and behave like businesses rather than employees. The entrepreneurial mindset will ripple throughout the American workforce with professionals functioning as independent brands both inside and outside the corporate enterprise.

Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners, says, “This new breed of independent worker wants to be liberated from traditional employment. This means going beyond simple flexible work hours or corporate telecommuting or working on contingent assignments through a staffing company. It requires true self-employability.”

Collaborative technologies will help drive the shift to independent work, the MBO report says.

A 2010 Wall Street Journal article estimated that 20 to 23 percent of the U.S. workers “are operating as consultants, freelancers, free agents, contractors or micropreneurs. Current projections see the number only rising in coming years.”

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