Workforce Trends for Independent Workers

In what certainly could have a big impact on the way human resource departments operate, a recent report has predicted huge increases in the coming decade in the number of independent workers.

It’s no secret that there is a trend among businesses toward using more independent contractors, especially with the uncertainty in the economy. But a new report by MBO Partners, which provides business services to independent contractors, has predicted that by 2020 more than half the U.S. workforce — which now is 70 million people — will be working as independent contractors.

According to the company, about 16 million people work as independent contractors now, and 28 million are considering becoming independent workers within the next two years. Also, according to research by MBO, more than half of workers who are currently independent said they became so by choice. About half cited the need for more flexibility as the reason for going independent.

Independent workers include those on fixed-term contracts, independent consultants, those working through temporary agencies, workers on an on-call arrangement, and those who own a business with fewer than five employees

The MBO report also noted other trends that it said would continue. One is the growing demand for experts and experienced, skilled workers. According to the report, in the future, most independent workers will be experts or skilled workers. These will include older workers, over 55, who will be going out on their own as independent contractors based on the expertise they have gained during their careers.

The growing independence of workers is being made possible by the rise of social media and new technology that allows collaboration, such as cloud computing. These new tools will allow workers to find jobs, create teams to work on projects, and also allow for continued learning. Cloud computing and mobile technologies also allow these workers to do their job from just about anywhere.

However, because of these big changes being driven by technology and the changing nature of the workforce, MBO is also predicting more regulation of independent contractors as well. In 2011, for example, seven misclassification laws were approved in six states, and 14 bills are under review for 2012.

If you need reliable and skilled workers for your Anchorage, Portland, Seattle, Lake Oswego, Tacoma or Chicago company in 2012, give the Opti Staffing Group a call. We’d be happy to discuss different staffing and recruiting strategies with you. We look forward to being of service.

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