Disappointing survey

October 11, 2022

New McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey suggests there are 58 million (or 36%) independent workers in the USA.

That’s a huge number but also quite controversial: The category of “independent workers” grouped freelancers (both full-time and part-time) together with contractors (including those with a single client and likely to be misclassified employees), as well as gig and temporary workers who are rarely truly independent (of their platforms or other intermediaries). In other words, the classification treats all sorts of precarious work as “independent”, which is misleading and results in overblown estimates of freelance work.

The full report has not been released. However, it is quite obvious that the new survey represents a step down from the older, highly-regarded and methodically superior 2016 report Independent Work by McKinsey Global Institute.

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