The Independent Workforce: Opportunities Beyond the 9 to 5

Economic opportunities have come a long way since the typical 9 to 5 that our parents enjoyed. Today, individuals are looking for a more dynamic work environment that is flexible and that enables them to better shape their own lives.

A survey from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) sheds light on the independent workforce, helping address who is joining this growing industry and explaining their reasons for participating.

The Popularity of Independent Work

Based on respondents from across Europe and the United States, the survey found that approximately 162 million people — or 20 to 30 percent of the working-age population — engage in some form of independent work.

The report concluded that 30 to 45 percent of the working-age population in the U.S. and Europe would like to earn either primary or supplemental income through independent work.

Highlights from the report include:

Empowerment and Flexibility

Not only do the majority of independent workers included in MGI’s research enter the workforce out of preference rather than necessity, but they also report being highly satisfied with their work lives.
Rates of Independent Workers

They have a genuine interest in their work, are more motivated by their profession and prefer the opportunity to be their own boss. Moreover, the report found that the level of empowerment and flexibility ranked among the top reasons for choosing independent work as a source of income.

As independent work becomes an increasingly meaningful part of the global economy, there is significant room for growth across all countries included in MGI’s research. According to MGI, government data reveals 232 million adults in the U.S. and the EU15 are inactive, unemployed, or work less than full time—and at least 100 million of them would like to start working or increase their hours.

While the fact that people assemble various income streams is hardly new, these findings are indicative of how economic opportunities are being redefined and why the function of the traditional labor market is shifting.

We are proud that since 1980, Herbalife Nutrition has provided people with the opportunity to pursue supplemental or full-time income by helping others achieve their nutrition and fitness goals. Many of our independent small business owner have already discovered that being your own boss and working on your own terms leads to greater engagement, productivity and fulfillment.

Alan Hoffman, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs

Alan HoffmanExecutive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs

Alan Hoffman has more than 25 years of public policy, communications, and government experience, having served as senior vice president for global public policy at PepsiCo, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States and Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States. He holds a Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Administration from USC.