Self-employed people outperform all other workers when it comes to achieving the top three goals for American workers: spending enough time with their family, leading a fulfilling life and “getting the most out of life.”
This finding came in MBO Partners 2023 Life Goals Report, recently released by MBO Partners, a provider of back-office services to independent workers, in collaboration with the firm Flywheel Associate. The report taps insights from Flywheel’s annual State of Work and Career Success Study.
Miles Everson, CEO of MBO Partners, says the report is a “wakeup call.”
“Human capital scarcity is arguably one of the most significant issues a company has,” Everson says. “People are choosing not to be a full- time employee. You can deny it but when you don’t have the ability to source the people you need, because so many people have moved to the world of independent professionals, you can ignore the data to your peril.”
Here are some of the findings:
· 63% of independent workers say they are successful in spending time with their families, compared to 55% of U.S. works overall.
· 61% of independents say they are successful in leading a fulfilling live, compared to 54% of all workers.
· 57% of independents say they are getting the most out of life, versus 52% of all workers.
· 64% of independents said they were able to experience continued personal growth, compared to 54% of the U.S. workforce.
Many traditional workers are asking to shoulder a lot of administrative responsibility that makes their jobs unrewarding. “The level of people leaving jobs is the highest it’s been,” says Everson. “Work structures need to change in order to have a workforce that’s engaged.”
The ability to be selective about the type of work performed seems to contribute to the fulfillment of the independent workers. Many self-employed people are part of the “creator economy,” and their daily work consists of projects they have chosen, notes Everson. They also have the opportunity to experience the satisfaction of delivering those projects to satisfied clients. “It’s rewarding to do productive work,” Everson says.
Though 41% of both independents and the overall workforce said they are successful in creating wealth, there is a financial tradeoff for independence for some. Almost 50% of traditional workers are successfully on track for retirement, versus 41% of independent workers.
One interesting finding reflects how independent workers and traditional employees weigh earning a steady income and doing enjoyable work.
The report found that the top three reasons people choose independent work are pursuing a passion, doing meaningful work and doing work they like.
For workers in general, the top three motivators are earning a steady income, doing meaningful work and working in a field they are passionate about.
Traditional job holders are more satisfied with their income than independents overall, with 76% of the traditional workers citing satisfaction, versus 68% of independent workers.
The most satisfied workers seem to be Digital Nomads. They outscored independents and traditional workers in eight categories: helping others, spending enough time with family, ensuring a purposeful life, leading a fulfilling life, getting the most out of life, continued personal growth, being on track for retirement, and creating wealth.
92% of Digital Nomads said they were highly satisfied (81%) or satisfied (11%) with their work and lifestyle. They were generally very high scorers on getting the most out of life (79%), continued personal growth (74%), and ensuring their life has a purpose (71%).
“No doubt, visiting new places, being exposed to new cultures, and meeting new people all play a part in these high scores,” the report notes.
The findings drew on research from the 2022 MBO Partners State of Independence in America study survey, which was fielded in July 2022. Emergent Research and Rockbridge Associates surveyed 6,488 U.S. residents ages 18 or older, including 934 independent workers. This current report also incorporated data from the study by Flywheel Associates.
With more workers “quiet quitting” or out-and-out resigning, more companies are starting to become more open to hiring independent workers, according to Everson.“Companies are now are fearful they can’t get enough people to support their growth agenda,” he says. “That fear is causing them to try something different and have more of an open mind.”
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