With the start of Trump era from yesterday, 20th Jan 2017; the whole World is focusing on the new policies he will bring in the US. The American economy is not growing much, and because of labour costs in the US, a lot of work is still flowing to other Countries. The main players in the American economy for getting the permanent jobs and freelance work are India, China, Brazil, Philippines and some other smaller countries in Asia.

First Impression:

Mr. President has declared in his first speech that ‘America and American’s are his first preference. At the moment it is not very clear on what strategy will be there for existing jobs primary in the Information Technology (IT) sector, and freelance work in IT-enabled services, but for new jobs, there is likely to be more restrictions.

We have to see how the freelancer community will react and perform in a specific way in the present situation and over next four years. It is not only about the changes in policy for assigning work, but it may be related to taxes also. For corporates assigning work in other Countries, they will not get any tax benefits or will have to pay higher taxes.

Gig Economy:

The discussions so far during the campaign did not focus on the ‘Gig Economy’ or ‘large economy related to freelance work going out from the US’. Throughout his entire campaign, he has given a loud message to bring back jobs to America, but his key focus seems to be on corporate high paying jobs.

Mr. Trump has talked a lot about bringing back manufacturing jobs, but the current economy is not about these jobs. The key jobs are all technology based and revolving around the use of technology in different areas, so the experts are questioning about his thoughts to focus on Manufacturing Industries.

Workforce Protection can be a question:

The workplace protection for independent contractors and freelance gigs is a major question today. A large number of people from America are currently involved in finding and working on freelance jobs, and their future is also not known. Because of evolution and 24 X 7 use of Internet, the World economy and obviously the US economy has altered the way it was working earlier.

The focus has shifted, and many people have left their jobs to work as freelancers. Outsourcing is now not a complex process and is possible with just one click of a mouse, so everyone will have to wait for Trump to focus on this economy. If the freelance workforce grows a lot, the Government schemes, policies, investment options will need modifications according to the working style and payment methods of this community. A more robust organised structure is expected to develop for this large unorganised workforce.

The growing number of Freelancers:

The number of freelancers has grown to about 55+ million in 2016. Even Corporations are looking to hire contingent workers & many of the large companies are looking to increase their use of a flexible workforce. Trump’s policies may force them to alter their decisions. It is beneficial for Companies as they have to provide fewer facilities to contract workforce and their overheads also reduce.

The growing gig economy also has its problems. In an economic speech last year, Hillary Clinton specifically mentioned problems with the sharing economy like the lack of workplace protections including sick leaves, maternity leave, and all retirement benefits. If you consider the facilities given to employees and contractors, there will be many additional points.

Trump has so far ignored any discussion of the freelance jobs created by technology and the gig economy. He has only spoken against regulations affecting the companies that connect freelance workers with work.

Freelance Community response so far:

According to a survey commissioned by Freelancer Union, 45 % American freelancers supported Clinton, while 33% preferred Trump. Now that Trump is the president, it looks like it may benefit the American workforce.

That’s because Trump campaigned on some policies that, if followed through on, could mean more job opportunities for freelance gigs and contract workers. The new government cares about lower taxes, simpler tax codes, and a stronger economy and there are likely to be some benefits for the American workforce.

A recent survey of more than 100 CFOs and another 100 line managers commissioned by Work Market, an online marketplace found that the most significant obstacle to hiring more freelancers is regulation, something Trump has promised to reduce.
The survey found that 40% of respondents expressed a fear of violating the Fair Labour Standards Act, 39% fear about worker misclassification, and 28% were afraid of not abiding by the rules set out in the Affordable Care Act.

Future of freelancing community:

Yahoo has mentioned that “Trump emphasised on getting back the manufacturing jobs throughout his campaign, but most of them disappeared in 2000. The high-tech and low paying service jobs have taken their place in the current US economy”.

Since Trump has not said much about the freelance economy, freelance workers have cause to feel uncertain about their prospects. There is a long list of Companies published each year on Forbes magazine who employ freelancing workforce, and they will probably wait for the new directions from the Government.

They fill jobs on demand and depend on apps and many professional websites and handy to find freelancers. They now make up to 35% of the workforce for some of the Companies. Interestingly, some Companies are only virtual companies where multiple freelancers work together to provide different services. Their future also depends on future policies of the new Government.

Summary:

It is too early to conclude anything about the freelancers at this stage, but considering all above points, it can benefit the US workforce. The employers outsourcing work to freelancers in other countries is likely to be under tax pressure as well as can face more regulations about work assignments. The freelancing US task-force (both employers and freelancers working for US Companies) are likely to see a positive side of Trump policies.

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