Workers Don’t Feel Like a 9-to-5 Job Is a Safe Bet Anymore – HBR.org Daily

Self-study

For 11 years, as the research provider for the MBO Partners State of Independence Study series, we’ve been charting the growth, profile, desires, and needs of the growing American independent workforce.  These are self-employed consultants, freelancers, independent contractors, gig workers, and others who work independently instead of having traditional full-time jobs. We recently found something surprising: An increasingly large majority of independent workers say that independent work is less risky and more secure than traditional employment.

Historically, job security — and the predictable income, attractive benefits, peace of mind, and career progression it represents — has been one of the main attractions of traditional full-time employment. Self-employment, or independent work, involves a series of trade-offs. You might gain greater autonomy or have more freedom to pursue a passion or work you enjoy, but you’ll lose the steady paycheck, the camaraderie of coworkers, and the support that companies large and small can provide.

In our 2021 survey of 6,240 U.S. workers, including 928 independent workers, 68% of independent workers responded to the statement “I feel more secure working independently” in the affirmative — up from 32% in 2011 and 53% in 2019.

And here’s the really interesting finding: For the last four years, we’ve been asking full-time workers whether they agree with the statement that working independently is less risky than permanent employment. The share of these jobholders saying yes increased from 18% in 2018 to 29% in 2021. Put another way, 7 in 10 independents and 3 in 10 traditional employees say independent work is more secure than traditional employment.

It’s also clear that workers — especially highly skilled, well-compensated ones — are voting with their feet. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in January 2022 alone. Many of those who quit chose to turn to self-employment. According to a McKinsey study, “31% of employees who left their job in the past six months did so to start a new business.”

The shift is the result of the following powerful, longstanding trends in both the traditional and independent work arenas — trends that were accentuated by the pandemic.

Declining Security of Payroll Jobs

Many workers simply don’t see traditional jobs as being as compelling as they were in the past — and with good reason. Over the last few decades, companies have kept wage growth down and pared back benefits. The U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index, which compares the proportion of higher-wage/higher-hour jobs to lower-wage/lower-hour jobs, has shown a steady decline in job quality in the past 30 years. Plus, the proliferation of information technology has blurred the lines between home and work and stretched many nine-to-five positions to more like 24/7.

Job security is clearly under assault. Even when times are good, corporate restructuring and layoffs have become common. And when a crisis hits, companies take an axe to payrolls. In the Great …….

Source: https://hbr.org/2022/03/workers-dont-feel-like-a-9-to-5-job-is-a-safe-bet-anymore

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