Skip to content

Boomers Find Satisfaction, Independence as Freelancers

They make up nearly half of the self-employed workforce, a survey finds

Man doing work on living room floor

Getty Images

Boomers make up a much larger share of self-employed workers than Gen-Xers or millennials, according to a new survey.

En español |  A new survey debunks the freelancer stereotype of a hoodie-wearing young adult tapping at a keyboard in a crowded cafe before finding a regular job. In reality, the self-employed person is more likely to be a boomer professional who is satisfied with the freelance life and plans to stay in the workforce past the traditional retirement age, the survey indicates.

The online survey of 2,700 full-time U.S. workers — conducted by FreshBooks, an accounting and invoicing software company, in collaboration with market research firm Research Now — found that 49 percent of self-employed people are boomers, a far bigger share than Gen-Xers (33 percent) and millennials (18 percent). 

In contrast, boomers make up only 33 percent of traditional job-holders. Gen-Xers hold 39 percent of those positions and millennials 28 percent.

Boomer freelancers apparently enjoy their independence. Roughly 80 percent of self-employed workers in their mid-50s and older reported being satisfied with their careers. Boomers with traditional employment reported lower levels of satisfaction, ranging from just under 70 percent for those in the 55-60 age group to slightly above 50 percent for those 65 and older.

The survey also found that 61 percent of boomer self-employed professionals plan to keep working past age 65 by choice, compared with 47 percent of Gen-X freelancers and 45 percent of millennials.

Boomers usually have more professional connections to help them find freelance work, noted Matthew Baker, vice president of strategy for FreshBooks, in an article on the research for “Like a fine wine," he wrote, "networks get better as they age.”