From a young age, we’re all given an impression of what our adult lives will be. We’ll wake up every morning, down a cup of coffee, and begin the long commute to a building where we’ll spend our days helping someone else become rich. We’ll endure difficult bosses and co-workers, hours of overtime with no extra pay, and the potential of dismissal if we fail to perform.
The Millennial generation is saying no to that lifelong sentence of servitude. Millennials, defined as those between the ages of 9 and 31, are growing up in an Internet-driven world. Armed with a wi-fi enabled laptop or tablet, this generation can work from anywhere, tracking down work opportunities and using a variety of electronic tools to complete work on their own.
Millennials are asking for freedom, with plans to pursue it. According to a recent survey called the Entrepreneurial Mindset from Generation Y consulting firm Millennial Branding and crowdsourcing site ODesk, 72 percent of freelancers who are presently employed want to quit those jobs and become independent workers. The survey, which looked at 3,193 freelancers around the world, nearly 2,000 of which were Millennials, revealed that the reason freelancers would like to quit those day jobs is “freedom.”
“We believe that the barriers of Industrial Age work simply don’t make sense for businesses that want to get more work done, or for workers who are demanding more freedom,” said Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk. “No one today wants to be confined to a cubicle. As independent professionals embrace this freedom, hours worked on oDesk have increased eightfold since 2009.”
When responding to the survey, more than half of the freelancers saw themselves as entrepreneurs. Freelancers often deal with a variety of clients, completing projects whenever and wherever they want. In fact, it’s this freedom that is most attractive to those responding to the survey. In fact, one freelancer who works while traveling the world stated that she hopes others will feel empowered to travel while working for themselves. Here’s a look at the infographic:
While the survey only looked at those who are already freelancing, this isn’t the first indication that the concept of work may be shifting. ODesk, which bills itself as “the world’s largest online workplace,” allows businesses the opportunity to connect with talented workers around the world. Along with competitors Elance and Freelancer, ODesk allows businesses to hire a worker to design a logo, conduct data entry, provide sales leads, and much more…all on a per-job basis.
Each online job site has reported phenomenal growth in the past couple of years, leading many to speculate on the real possibility that in a few years, both businesses and employees may connect with each other on a per-job basis. Businesses are becoming comfortable with the concept of hiring an employee across the country or even across the world, saving money and receiving the best possible work for each project. At the same time this trend increases, businesses are allowing workers to telecommute in increasing numbers. For those workers required to continue to come into an office, the prospect of working independently may mean the ability to work from home. For those already working from home, freelancing is just a short step away.
You can read the results of the Millennials and the Future of Work study here.