May 9, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Being your own boss has its perks--and Millennials have embraced the idea.

MetLife's new report on employee benefits trends suggests that Millennials intend to become their own bosses and have flexible hours so that they can participate more in family life.

In 2017, 51 percent of workers reported that they were interested in a freelance role, compared to 57 percent in 2018, according to MetLife.

Of those, 74 percent of Millennials were most interested in contractual work. Compare that to just 57 percent of Gen Xers and 43 percent of Baby Boomers. 

Of those Millennials who don't currently have freelance work, but aspire to, 25 percent f those surveyed reported that they planned to leave their full-time jobs in the next five years to freelance. Compare that to the 17 percent who said they had similar plans just a year ago.

In an article in USA Today, MetLife's executive vice president of group benefits said, "I would say the concept and prevalence of freelance work are much more apparent to people." He added, You can’t go anywhere without seeing (ride-sharing services) Uber and Lyft, and I think people are asking themselves different questions about 'how do I want to work?'"

Katz also explained that the key to understanding the desire to freelance is tied to flexibility. Millennials want the flexibility to spend time with family and enrich their lives with other activities. 

He cautioned against some of the drawbacks, like steady paychecks, employee benefits, paid vacations, and daily human interactions in the workplace.

He said, "Millennials will be the majority of the workforce in the not-so-distant future, and that group is raising their hands and saying 'freelance work is much more interesting to me.'" It's also riskier, which is why older employees are less interested.

He explained, "Employees say, 'I’ll feel more connected if you give me the flexibility that allows me to blend my work and private life in a way that works for me. If you do that, I’m going to be a more loyal employee.'"

For now? Millennials are shaping the future of work. Stay tuned for updates on this shifting landscape of the workplace.


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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