Growth of the gig economy: 46% of Gen Z workers are freelancers

New college grads are opting for freelancing jobs more than any other generation, according to new data from Upwork.

These are the top tech freelance jobs TechRepublic's Alison DeNisco Rayome enumerates the most in-demand skilled jobs for freelance tech workers.

Nearly half (46%) of Generation Z workers are freelancers, a number that is only projected to grow in the next five years, according to a report from Upwork released on Wednesday. The report, which was conducted by Edelman Intelligence and commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, surveyed 6,000 US working adults over 18 years of age.

Gen Z is the youngest generation entering today's workforce, consisting of people born between 1997 and 2000, according to a press release. With 61 million Gen Zers expected to be joining working America in the next few years, it appears many will be opting for a freelancing gig instead of or along with a more traditional job.

SEE: Remote access policy (Tech Pro Research)

Not only are more Gen Zers freelancing, but 73% are doing so by choice rather than necessity, while only 66% of Baby Boomers and 64% of Millennials can say the same, according to the report.

Gen Zers are digital natives, meaning they grew up in a digitized world; after all, this generation was no older than 12 when the iPhone first came out. Since Gen Zers grew up in a tech-drenched society, it only makes sense they would want to use that tech to make work flexible to their lifestyles.

"As Gen Z enters the workforce, they're increasingly choosing non-traditional ways of working that are better suited to their desired lifestyle than a traditional 9-to-5 job is," said Stephane Kasriel, Upwork CEO, in the release. "More than any other generation, members of Gen Z are seeking work they're passionate about that also affords them freedom and flexibility. It's important that companies adjust their hiring strategies in order to work with the best young talent, which accounts for more people than Gen X and Baby Boomers and will be the majority of the workforce in the next five years."

Gen Zers are preparing to take on the workforce, and are less concerned than others about automation, the report found. Their generation is the least concerned (31%) about automation impacting their job prospects, and are instead improving their own skills to remain relevant in the job market.

In the past six months, over half of Gen Z freelancers (58%) have participated in skills-relationed education, said the release, making themselves as marketable and desirable as possible for prospective employers. And with this expected influx of highly-skilled, freelanced-focused young workers, hiring managers need to prepare and plan accordingly.

To learn more about the highest paying gig economy jobs, check out this TechRepublic article.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Almost half (46%) of Gen Z are freelancers, and 73% are becoming freelancers by choice instead of necessity. — Upwork, 2018
  • Growing up as digital natives, Gen Z are the least concerned (31%) with threats of automation in the workforce. — Upwork, 2018

Also see

freelance.jpg
Image: iStockphoto/jacoblund