As Americans head to the polls on Election Day, one growing swath of the population seeking a more prominent voice in policy decisions is freelance and contract workers.
With the rise of the so-called “gig economy,” the freelance workforce in the U.S. has grown to 55 million people and earned about $1 trillion in the last year, according to the third annual “Freelancing in America” survey. Results from the survey were published last month by Upwork, an online marketplace for freelancers, and the Freelancers Union, a national advocacy group.
“The freelance workforce is the fastest-growing component of the economy. Figuring out where it is going is the most pressing question of our digital age,” Louis Hyman, a professor and director of the Institute for Workplace Studies at Cornell University, said in a release accompanying the survey.
The majority of these surveyed — a group that included moonlighters, independent contractors, temporary workers, freelancers who have one or more employees and people with multiple income streams — said they were inclined to vote for a candidate who represents freelancer interests.
Those interests include a strong voice for freelancers in deciding issues about their work and access to health and retirement benefits regardless of their employment status.