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Rise of the Independent Contractor

Over the past ten years independent contracting has achieved a great degree of genuine respect.  Many Americans have acknowledged the true shift in the relationship between workers and employers.  Contracting is no longer just a résumé filler between your last full time job and your next; it’s a viable career choice.  17 million Americans now call themselves independent contractors.

At this time we are dealing with slow economic recovery.  Many businesses now strive to accomplish greater revenue with fewer employees than they did five years ago.  So how can companies achieve higher sales with a lower headcount?  How are new projects being completed?

Due to multiple economic downturns since 2001, companies have had to rethink how business is done and how to best utilize employees.  In short, it has become essential for large businesses to be more flexible.  This requirement has lead to the rise of the independent contractor which has in turn proven to be the fastest growing sector of the American workforce.  In order to become more flexible companies have relied on the specialized skills and expertise of short term contractors.  By dividing the available work into identifiable projects and engaging with independent contractors to complete them, companies have been completing assignments without increasing their fixed, full time workforce.

Many workers have either come to terms with this change or embraced it. The reduction in employer paid benefits and traditional job security such as full time employment has resulted in a large portion of the workforce opting for the flexibility and fulfillment of independent contracting.  This large pool of mid to late career experts in the American marketplace who have a real desire to find new ways to work or to extend their careers has resulted in a shift towards contracting as an attractive option.

As the change in relationship between worker and employer continues to progress it is likely that we’ll continue to see an increase in highly skilled workers going out on their own as independent contractors.  Companies who engage this constantly growing talent pool in an effective and low-risk tactic will certainly be best positioned to ensure long term success.

Are you seeing more and more colleagues becoming independent contractors?  Do more companies desire to enter into a 1099 relationship with you?

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