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Is Today Your Independence Day?

Is Today Your Independence Day?
From Recruiter - July 14, 2016

The makeup of the American workforce is shifting. The traditional stability of the nine-to-five corporate desk job is slowly being replaced by the freedom and flexibility of self-employment. Independent workers in the United States number more than 40 million, according to the 6th Annual MBO Partners State of Independence study. Even though the number of full-time independents has decreased by 5 percent since 2015, the self-employed still overwhelmingly report that their work is satisfying, according to the study.

The study also shows that the demographics of the independent workforce are changing. More than 6.7 million millennials currently work as independents, up from 1.9 million back in 2011. This age group constitutes more than 40 percent of a workforce that used to be made up of people who struck out on their own after years of building skills at private corporations. However, that doesnt mean baby boomers should be counted out: They still constitute a respectable 31 percent of the independent workforce.

From Classroom to Home Office

With the workforce getting younger each year and a continually lowering unemployment rate making standard private sector jobs more competitive, the idea of self-employment after graduation appeals to many students.

Millennials are passionate about the benefits of independent work, like the ability to support their passions, control their own careers, and have a flexible schedule, says Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners, a provider of business and technology solutions for independent workers. Self-employment is an ideal choice for younger workers who are willing to demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit and who may want to use multiple streams of income to find a perfect fit for their later career path. In fact, half of millennials surveyed feel they can earn more money through gig-based work than they would through traditional employment.

Still, its often the case that knowledge acquired in the classroom doesnt give the students the practical skills they need to succeed on their own. Students who want to reap the rewards of being their own boss straight after graduation need to take steps to acquire the skills and contacts necessary for success.

Recent graduates may not have a large professional network and may have a harder time finding new clients, Zaino says. Many companies also look for specific, nuanced skill sets in their independent population, and millennials may struggle if their skills are not yet refined or they cannot show proven past work in a dedicated area. Six in ten independent workers report getting work assignments because they offer a specialized skill that requires certification or special training. Millennials should take advantage of their schools alumni groups and consider obtaining professional certifications to prove their qualifications.

Related: Gigging Your Way to Retirement

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