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Quan Mai

Research Findings

How freelancers are disadvantaged when applying for full-time positions

July 14, 2020

Since the late-twentieth century, there has been an explosion of precarious work in the U.S labor market. The precariat comprises of a diverse set of workers, including but not limited to part-time, temporary, contingent workers, and independent contractors – or freelancers.

Freelancers make up a significant part of the precarious workforce. A survey reported that out of 57 million Americans who engaged in some types of nonstandard work in 2019, around 16 million considered themselves full-time freelancers. Despite its size and importance, freelancers remain understudied relative to other segments of the precarious workforce. Additionally, while we know a great deal about how workers transition out of traditional jobs to become freelancers, movements in the opposite direction received much less attention. My recent research explores how a history of freelancing affects workers’ subsequent career prospects.

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