AT A GLANCE

  • A new survey of freelancers finds that 95% of respondents sell two or more talents to multiple clients; the studies dubs this group “slash workers”
  • Insight from survey reveals that only 7% of respondents entered freelance work due to financial gains, with many citing personal growth and flexibility as their main reasons
  • More than 40% of respondents said they have difficulty collecting payment from clients

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October 01, 2017

Who Are “Slash Workers”? - October 2017

A new study by AND CO, a support system for freelancers, finds that independent workers are multifaceted, and 95% of respondents sell two or more talents within their freelance careers. AND Co has dubbed this group “Slash Workers” and they argue that they are the future of freelance. As per the report authors, “the multidimensional nature of today’s independent workers reveals an important insight about how the freelance economy has evolved.” 

Source: The Slash Workers by And and Co

The study surveyed 300 independent workers in February and March 2017. Seventy-one percent lived inside the United States. Of those surveyed, 33% described themselves as creative, 21% as professional services consultants, 17% as writing and content experts, 15% tech and development contractors, and 14% “others”.

In this article, we discuss some of the other key findings about the study.

Reasons

Only 7% of respondents said they moved towards independent work due to financial gains. Furthermore, 40% said that their leading reason was for “personal growth”. The second-most cited reason was “flexibility”. Similarly, only 6% of respondents said they surveyed that they’re only freelancing until a full-time opportunity.

These workers seem to value quality of life over financial gain. According to the survey, 77% said they were not more financially stable after going independent; in fact, 43% said they are worse off and 34% say they’re about the same. However, they are happier – 66% said their quality of life has improved since leaving full-time work.

Most of the respondents switched over to independent work recently. Two-thirds said they went independent within the past three years.

Issues

Freelancers report that they have difficulty collecting payments from clients. The report found that 44% of respondents told us they’ve had issues across all income levels. And more than 60% say that there is a general lack of respect for the freelance community.

The wage gap exists in the freelance community as well. Almost half of the women surveyed earned less than $25,000 per year. Additionally, men were 4.5 times more likely to be earning at least $150,000 more than women. However, men had more issues collecting payments from clients than women.

The global economy is giving independent workers the freedom to work from almost anywhere and freelancers like it. Digital nomads were more likely to cite improved quality of life since going independent, and 60% of freelancers surveyed said that they’d be interested in pursuing a nomadic lifestyle in the future. However, not being in a traditional work office environment leads 61% of respondents to saying they miss the feeling of community.

 

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