A recent survey by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has discovered that a resounding 97% of contractors and independent workers are happier and more satisfied than their permanent colleagues, which is great news – but not really a surprise to us here at Nixon Williams.
Independent workers who were interviewed as part of the research study recorded higher levels of satisfaction in almost all areas of their working lives, making it clear that this type of flexible lifestyle has many more benefits than just higher rates of pay.
The full report – titled Independent work: choice, necessity and the gig economy examined all the different ways in which people are now earing their income, while also looking at some of the challenges that working independently can present. The reasoning behind the study was that, while contracting and freelancing has been gaining popularity for many years, McKinsey felt that it had never been ‘well measured in official statistics’ – hence deciding to carry out the review.
Over 8,000 people were involved in the survey, from across the UK, the rest of Europe and the USA, responding to questions about their income over the last year – both from ‘primary’ work and from other income streams. They were also asked about their aspirations for the future and they levels of professional satisfaction.
McKinsey then asked respondents to rank 14 separate aspects of their working lives, and on 12 of these, the independent workers recorded higher satisfaction, with the last two showing equal satisfaction. These individuals specifically appreciated the ability to be their own boss, to control their hours, to express more creativity in the workplace and to access more opportunities for learning and recognition. In general, they were also more engaged with their job roles, and happier with their overall rates of income – while being equally comfortable as employees were with their income security and benefits.
The survey also discovered that between 20% and 30% of respondents are involved in some type of independent work, for a variety of different reasons – a figure which McKinsey states is larger than previously recognised. And of these people, the ones who consciously chose to work this way demonstrated a high level of satisfaction, thanks to the multiple dimensions of their working lives – rather than being a traditional employee. Drilling down further into the statistics, almost 75% of independent workers do so by choice, while 1 in 6 of those in traditional employment would prefer to become ‘independent earners’, such as contractors.
Commenting in their summary of the report, McKinsey stated that independent work is gaining popularity very rapidly, as digital marketplace platforms become more and more sophisticated – leading to a rise in the so-called ‘on-demand’ workforce, all of which is great news for contractors. We all believe that this transformation will continue to unfold, as workers prefer the independent working lifestyle and end clients take advantage of a flexible and highly skilled workforce.