WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM | How innovation is helping the self-employed

Changes in the workforce are everywhere: shifts from office-based hours to remote work, from fixed to flexible schedules, and from lifetime employment to shorter-term engagements. These changes are sparking debates among United States presidential candidates, as well as within companies and communities worldwide.

One of the most significant shifts relates to the rise in self-employed, freelance and independent contractor work. The data is startling: the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that this section of the workforce has increased from 17% in 1989 to 36% today, and is expected to rise to 43% by 2020. In other words, nearly half of the entire American labour force will be self-employed.