2005_09_18_free_stats.jpg

Living in Gotham, you probably know at least one of them. Freelancers, those crazy people who seem to change bosses with the same frequency you change metrocards, are, with an estimated one million of them working here, an integral part of New York's job market. So honestly, we were kind of surprised that there really haven't been that many studies as to who these people are, how much they make and what their plans are. Enter the Freelancers Union. You might have noticed the posters appearing on the subway lately. As part of an effort to raise awareness of those they represent, and to better understand them (not to mention getting a little press for themselves), the union has initiated a study of 2,800 freelancers, released today.

And what did they find? In short, freelancers claim a flexible schedule as the primary benefit of the lifestyle (duh) and they mostly work in the some of the city's bigger industries: advertising, publishing, film, television, technology and the arts. The median freelancer income is $50,000 a year, but the pay ranges widely. Finally, less than half (47%) save money for retirement each month, while a majority of them vote in national and local elections.

Representatives from the Union claim that this information should help push freelancers into the spotlight as "this is the beginning of their era. They're the group who's going to define what the next safety net is going to be, because they're the ones who need it."

Graphic from the NYTimes