10 Suprising Contractor Work Facts & Statistics

10 Surprising Contractor Work Facts & Statistics

My work has placed me at an interesting intersection where I am working and consulting in the HR and recruiting industries while also being an independant contractor and member of the contingent workforce. The independent workforce is called a lot of different things: freelancer, contract worker, project based workforce, 1099 employee, contingent worker, on-demand workforce and even the extended workforce. Whatever we are called, companies are leveraging the flexible independent worker to fill the gaps and in some cases especially in Silicon Valley, I am seeing companies use a majority of contract workers for their workforce instead of permanent employees.

Coming out of the recession I wanted control over my own career. My husband is also an independent consultant although he works a more traditional work schedule than me. We both can move from project to project even juggling multiple gigs at a time. Employers like this too as they can quickly cut expenses without having to offer outplace services, severance packages or pay out unused vacation benefits. Not every employer is excited about you juggling multiple projects but that’s the beauty of this workforce where you, as the consultant are in the driver’s seat. Personally, I like the fact that I can attend a 10:00 AM pilates class and not feel guilty. I am in full control over my calendar, career and scheduling.

In researching for the upcoming webinar, I came across some interesting statistics and information with regard to the contract and contingent workforce. Here are 10 surprising statistics I have come across as I research this webinar and my new upcoming book I’m co-authoring.

40% of workers now have contingent and contract jobs says the IRS (Forbes online)

SIA (Staffing Industry Analysts) estimates that the average company’s contingent workers currently make up 18% of the total workforce. (HR Times)

The contingent workforce has doubled in the past seven years. (HR Times)

By 2020, estimates are that 40% of the average company’s workforce will be composed of contingent workers. (HR Times)

Temporary Workers in California are Twice as Likely as Non-Temps to Live in Poverty. (UC Berkeley Labor Center)

74% of employees who left permanent employer and chose to become independent cited a lack of employer engagement as their principal reason for leaving. (HBR)

40%  of companies report finding their top talent through the contingent labor force. (Randstad)

86% of temporary/contractors say their current level of job satisfaction is very good/excellent compared to 73% of permanent workers. (BLR.com)

Top 5 industries for contingent workers: 1) retail 2) financial services 3) healthcare 4) professional services 5) public service agencies. (Forbes online)

There are currently an estimated 53 million Americans freelancing. (Forbes online)

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Randstad Login says

    Hey great post. I hope it’s alright that I shared it on my Facebook, if not,
    no issues just tell me and I’ll delete it. Either way keep up the good work.


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