On this call we welcomed McLean Robbins, Vice President Marketing at MBO Partners and Steve King, Partner at Emergent Research to discuss the key takeaways from the recently released a preview brief of its flagship State of Independence in America report, sharing that the number of independent workers (self-employed, ICs, freelancers, gig workers, etc.) in the U.S. grew to 51.1 million in 2021, an unprecedented 34% annual growth. All segments saw substantial growth, including skilled independents providing services to businesses, Millennial and Gen Z market entrants, and new female ICs.
Chat room transcript:
00:09:03 CTW: https://www.teeshirtpalace.com/products/youre-on-mute-retro-funny-t-shirt?color=navy&size=xl&gclid=Cj0KCQjw1ouKBhC5ARIsAHXNMI8QOOvAehX_zxWE-qsp2WrjRwrIp4eGPfBmQN2evIyQI743nRtzrXQaAogyEALw_wcB
00:14:00 CTW: Apologies for the technical challenges with the breakout rooms!
00:16:55 CTW: Tom O’Malley: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomomalley/
00:17:35 Carin I Knoop: forward but never straight …
00:18:34 Avesh Jha: www.linkedin.com/in/avesh-jha-1b91932
00:19:17 CTW: McLean Robbins: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcleanrobbins/
00:20:00 Dash Desai: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dashdesai/
00:22:22 CTW: Steve King: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steveking2/
00:24:44 McLean Robbins: For the full report: http://www.mbopartners.com/state-of-independence
00:25:45 Balaji Bondili: Can you define who a full-time independent? Does that mean they have no full employment for the year? Where do staffed employees of staffing firms show up? Would you consider them traditional employees or independent?
00:27:12 Chris Link Duarte: Does the part-time worker generate enough revenue for themselves so they don’t have to work full time or are they employed elsewhere and that is why they are part-time?
00:28:02 Balaji Bondili: Thank you for the comprehensive answer.
00:29:13 Chris Link Duarte: Very interesting. Thank you
00:33:26 Carin I Knoop: how do you reconcile the supposed need for Mills and Gen Zs to find purpose at work with the drive for independence?
00:33:38 zach piester: What role are independents playing in the enterprise arena, what are the barriers to entry and/or enterprises taking advantage of this demo?
00:33:47 Todd Brous: This chart rocks
00:34:55 Todd Brous: (What’s the survey sample size?)
00:35:09 Dash Desai: This is awesome… would love to share these figures with our community… are there any restrictions on sharing this info more widely?
00:35:27 McLean Robbins: Dash- you’re welcome to share the study!
00:35:41 McLean Robbins: Methodology: The findings in this research brief come from the 2021 MBO Partners State of Independence in America study survey, which was fielded in July of 2021. This is the 11th consecutive year this study has been conducted. For the 2021 study, Emergent Research and Rockbridge surveyed 6,240 residents of the U.S. (aged 18 and older), including 928 independent workers. The results were used to size the independent workforce and profile work motivations and attitudes among independent and traditional workers. The survey results were weighted to reflect the demographics of the U.S.
00:37:02 Balaji Bondili: We are seeing a huge gap in our FTE needs to how fast we can hire. Do you think that gap is as much with people choosing to be independent as it is as much with talent crunch? There is a ton of conversation on talent crunch but not as much due to the shift to independent? Thoughts?
00:38:06 Dash Desai: Is there a UK / Global flavour of this study @McLean?
00:38:23 McLean Robbins: Dash- there is not, although we’ve contemplated doing so in the future!
00:39:30 Dash Desai: Things are a bit different and traditional in the Queen’s country, so wonder if there is any comparable data that one can use to extrapolate. Great work though. Loving it.
00:40:10 McLean Robbins: Our UK Member firm ha a nice POV on that issue yesterday: http://www.thestaffingstream.com/2021/09/15/its-time-to-embrace-the-agile-workforce/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheStaffingStream+%28The+Staffing+Stream%29
00:41:34 zach piester: Add on to Balaji’s question- what are the barriers in place that are limiting the conversation and conversion to hiring independents vs fee?
00:44:05 Carrie Leonard: A pretty unscientific study: I monitor the project pricing at BTG (which likes to staff former consultants from the large firms like McK, Bain, Deloitte, PwC). I have seen the day rates DROP on BTG projects over the past few years — even before covid — which seems to run counter to the idea of control.
00:45:31 Balaji Bondili: Carrie, more people, more competition, lower prices. I think there is a marketplace aspect to rates. Personal relationship based rates tend to be inflated vs. market based rates.
00:46:28 Carrie Leonard: Balaji, yes, definitely agree.
00:47:00 Balaji Bondili: But, hopefully greater demand manifests in greater utilization/ being busy through the year. So they might make more $$, but potentially at a lower rate. And, that is a trade off many workers might be ok with as a trade off. I think.
00:48:11 Balaji Bondili: Any thoughts on how many “actually” found work on marketplace vs. looking on them?
00:48:33 Carrie Leonard: Balaji, I think it is tricky: more competition and a lower rate if you do get hired for a project is not a great combo. Also, the digital staffers allow the buy side to really focus in on a skill set. I find it a bit concerning.
00:49:31 Balaji Bondili: I agree it is concerning, but I would be more concerned on rate depression closer to the living wage vs. for a data scientist.
00:53:48 McLean Robbins: This study will come out next week – preview data for everyone!
00:54:12 Balaji Bondili: In that case, if someone is being cheap in asking, the independent can say no as that is not market. If the $69 is market then there is clearly excess supply in the market.’
00:56:03 Carin I Knoop: On the demand and supply, if freelance is 100% of your income vs supplemental, you will behave differently right?
00:57:15 zach piester: To Balaji’s point of being cheap…we’ve found that there is limited data/analytics on independent pricing for projects
00:57:44 CTW: Steve Rader: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-rader-92b7754/
00:58:11 CTW: Dean Bosche: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bosche/
00:59:22 CTW: Agnieszka Porebska: https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnieszkaporebska/
01:01:08 Carin I Knoop: on the cultural stuff — in france and german it used to be if you were an entrepreneur and successful, you were an a*hole and a parasite, if you were not, you were a loser
01:01:21 Dash Desai: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dashdesai/
01:01:40 CTW: Balaji Bondili: https://www.linkedin.com/in/balajibondili/
01:01:48 Brent Messenger: Brent Messenger https://www.linkedin.com/in/brentmessenger/
01:02:28 Paul Murcott: Paul Murcott https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulmurcott
01:03:39 CTW: Barry Matthews: https://www.linkedin.com/in/barry-matthews-2a51a32/
01:04:13 McLean Robbins: email@example.com – thanks all!
01:04:26 Steve Rader: This was amazing!!! Thank you both!!
01:04:28 Todd Brous: Thank you! This was amazing!
01:04:34 Steve King: firstname.lastname@example.org
01:04:49 Paul Murcott: Thank you! Great insights
01:04:49 Alan Korpady: Outstanding work!
01:04:59 Dash Desai: Absolutely brilliant. Thanks for sharing Steve, McLean
01:05:02 CTW: https://open-assembly.com/reports/future-of-work-trends
01:05:14 Vijaya Ramesh: Interesting research, thank you for sharing!
01:05:17 Mafé Rabino: Thank you @Steve King and McLean Robbins.
01:05:38 Brent Messenger: Thanks, everyone.