Is Gen Z the Freelance Generation? The Shift to Self-Employment

Is Gen Z the Freelance Generation? Exploring the Shift Towards Self-Employment


In the ever-evolving landscape of the workforce, generational differences in career aspirations and preparations have become more apparent than ever. This article delves into the growing trend of self-employment and freelance work among Gen Z and young Millennials, highlighting key findings from an Unconventional Jobs Survey by Collective.

Gen Z’s Approach to Self-Employment

In the United States, Gen Z and young Millennials are reframing their job aspirations with a strong focus on self-employment and freelance work. An interesting finding is that 64% of Americans under the age of 35 either freelance now or expect to do so in the future.

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You may want to read: How to Find Freelance Work without Upwork and Fiverr

Unconventional Jobs Survey Insights

The Unconventional Jobs Survey conducted by Collective reveals a stark generational contrast. Gen Z and young Millennials are twice as likely to engage in freelance work compared to adults over 35, where only 31% have such aspirations.

The Influence of the Creator Economy

The creator economy’s growth over the previous two decades, which has gained momentum, can be partially blamed for this generational shift. Young Millennials and members of Generation Z were exposed to new opportunities as they grew older that matched their aspirations of self-employment and professional fulfillment.

Defining Success in Careers

Intriguingly, the definition of “making it” in one’s career varies significantly between generations. Gen Z and young Millennials aim to achieve career success without the burden of working beyond 40 hours a week, yet still earning enough to support their chosen lifestyle. This contrasts with 44% of Americans over 35, who consider having enough money to retire as their marker of success.

Preparedness for Career Challenges

In addition to reframing job aspirations, the younger generation is demonstrating that it is more equipped to face any obstacles that may come along. Compared to only 30% of older Americans, 59% of US adults under the age of 35 had a backup plan in place in the event of layoffs.

The Role of AI and Online Platforms

A key factor in enabling self-employed people to accomplish more, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and protect their mental health is the availability of AI and online platforms. Younger workers are betting on themselves rather than entirely on corporations for job security.

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Financial Preparedness

In addition to their backup plans, younger adults are more likely to save for rainy days, and many have side hustles or hobbies that could potentially evolve into full-fledged careers.

A Paradigm Shift in Career Independence

It’s evident that the younger generation is reimagining career independence, breaking away from traditional norms. This shift not only brings about personal fulfillment but also challenges the established ideas of career success.

Impact on Mental Health

According to Collective, 88% of current freelancers report improvements in their mental health since transitioning from full-time employment. This speaks to the positive influence of self-employment and the freelance lifestyle on overall well-being.

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In conclusion, Gen Z and young Millennials are driving a significant transformation in the workforce, with a strong inclination toward self-employment and freelance work. Their proactive approach to career challenges and their pursuit of a balanced, self-reliant career model is reshaping the traditional workforce landscape.

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