New study finds Gen Z is empowering freelancers more than any other generation
Graduation season is upon us, which means a new influx of Gen Zers will be entering the workforce. A new study finds that this could give freelancers more empowerment than ever before
Key findings include:
- Gen Zers are more likely to work for companies that engage knowledge freelancers: Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Gen Zers say they work for a company that uses freelancers; this compares to 67% of millennials, 58% of Gen Xers, and 53% of baby boomers.
- Younger generations are more likely to engage freelancers in the future: 65% of Gen Zers and 78% of millennials say they plan to use more freelancers over the next five years than they do today.
- Gen Zers recognise that freelancers are part of a full talent strategy: In fact, 61% of Gen Zers believe that using freelancers is a very effective lever for building talent pipelines, which compares to 47% of millennials, 35% of Gen Xers, and 37% of baby boomers.
- Gen Zers plan to keep remote work around: Nine out of ten Gen Zers and 82% of millennials said they are much more likely to redesign work toward remote as a key recruiting lever. This compares to only 71% of Gen Xers and 59% of baby boomers.
Unlike generations past, Gen Zers are the first group to be raised as digital natives. That could put them at an advantage over other generations and clearly will impact their perspective on work. However, they are using that advantage for the greater good of the freelance workforce.
That is why freelance platform Upwork analysed how Gen Zers are shaping the workforce – bringing unique perspectives around skills, flexibility and the type of work arrangements they want.
Upwork’s research found that freelancing continues to be an appealing career choice for young professionals. This may be driven in part by the fact that Gen Zers, more so than other generational cohorts, believe power resides with organisations today rather than with talent.
“The recent waves of mass layoffs and mandatory return to offices have certainly not helped in the perceived power imbalance,” says Upwork.
According to Upwork’s research, in 2022, 43% of all Gen Zers and 46% of Millennial professionals freelanced. When looking at the top reasons for freelancing among this age group, “To be able to pursue work I am passionate about or find meaningful,” “To take more control over my personal development and career path,” and “To have flexibility in my schedule (i.e., what days or times I work)” all make the list.
Normalising career paths outside of the traditional 9 to 5
These young professionals want to control the work they do, who they do it for, and when they do it, according to the research.
“Gen Z is normalising career paths and work opportunities outside of the traditional 9-to-5. Additionally, Gen Zers have also been exposed to new and exciting career paths that have been made possible by technology and freelancing. A prime example is the rise of career fields like social media influencers or content creators.
Upwork’s Freelance Forward survey found that younger generations are creating more influencer
content. Overall, about 23% of all freelancers say their work entails creating influencer-style content, which rises to 27% and 29% of Gen Z and millennial freelancers, respectively.
However, in Upwork’s latest survey, it was revealed that over 1,000 hiring managers found that Gen Z professionals are far more open to designing a new way of working.
“We see this in the types of professionals they want to work with, their approach to flexibility, and even their thinking about skills,” says the report.
Companies that hire freelancers attract more Gen Z workers
While this has not influenced every Gen Zer to become a freelancer, it has impacted the attitudes and behaviours of many of them in the workforce. For example, the research stated that Gen Zers are more likely to work for companies that engage knowledge freelancers.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Gen Zers say they work for a company that uses freelancers; this compares to 67% of millennials, 58% of Gen Xers, and 53% of baby boomers.
Furthermore, not only do they work with more freelancers, but younger generations also plan to continue this trend toward using scalable workforces, says Upwork.
“When asked about their use of freelancers in the future, 65% of Gen Zers and 78% of millennials say they plan to use more freelancers over the next five years than they do today,” said Upwork.