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Deloitte survey finds 67 percent of Americans who have worked as independent contractors would choose not to do so in the future

Less than half of independent contractors are satisfied with their experience; many say workplace culture is extremely important.

NEW YORK, Aug 25, 2016—While the number of independent workers is expected to grow to 54 million people by 2020 (MBO Partners: State of Independence in America 2015), the rise of the “gig economy” many forecasters see on the horizon may develop slower than expected.

A recent online poll by Deloitte of nearly 4,000 workers found that 67 percent of respondents who have worked as an independent contractor would choose not to do so again in the future. Additionally, more than 60 percent of employed workers said that their stability would suffer if they moved to independent contract work, and 42 percent worry about sacrificing good compensation and benefits.

Organizations have more to do to attract independent contractors
Four-in-ten respondents (41 percent) recognize that independent contracting offers more flexibility to work where, when, and how they want to as compared to full-time employment. However, respondents cite inconsistent cash flow and lack of employer-paid benefits as drawbacks that discourage them from pursuing independent work.

Furthermore, less than half (48 percent) of those who worked as an independent contractor were very satisfied with their experience, and more than half (56 percent) said the most important benefit of full-time employment is the steady income.

In order to achieve business goals, organizations should look to attract all talent pools. Organizations should start thinking about the culture they have in place and the experiences they can design for contingent workers.

– Mike Preston, chief talent officer, Deloitte LLP

Culture is key
There is more on respondents’ minds than financial security. Nearly half of respondents said that a company’s culture is “extremely important” in choosing where they want to work. Of those respondents, 53 percent of millennials and 50 percent of Generation X respondents noted that culture is “extremely important,” while only 40 percent of baby boomers said the same.

Those who have previously worked as an independent contractor, however, agree—nearly half said that a lack of connection to a company’s culture would discourage them from working independently in the future. This also affects adaptation to a company’s culture, with nearly half (45 percent) of all respondents believing that it would be difficult for an independent contractor to understand and connect with a company’s internal culture. Forty-four percent of those who have worked as an independent contractor agreed, as did half of the millennial cohort who responded to the survey.

Today’s workforce wants the ability to choose how they work—full-time or contract work. Regardless of what they choose, they crave a holistic experience that combines good compensation and benefits with a focus on well-being and career development.

– Mike Preston, chief talent officer, Deloitte LLP

Interest in contract work remains
Despite the challenges, more than one-third of respondents (34 percent) said they would consider working independently. Women clearly see the upside of the flexibility that contract work offers. Almost half (46 percent) of women respondents indicated the ability to attend to personal needs is an advantage of being an independent contractor.

While women recognize the benefits of contract work, men are still more likely to work as an independent contractor—42 percent of men versus 27 percent of women. Men also indicated more satisfaction with independent contract work than women (50 percent vs. 45 percent respectively).

The survey gathered online responses from nearly 4,000 full-time, part-time, and independent contract workers across three generations in 13 major markets around the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Dallas.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Media contact:

Deniz Sonmez
+1 646 376 7036

Clay Perschall
Public Relations
+1 312 486 5895

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