A trend over the last 20 years is that of freelancers, or contractors, as they are also known. Knowledge workers who hire themselves out to companies temporarily.
In the 1980’s it was comparatively rare. You only went freelance if you:
- Were extraordinarily bold, and had no fear of being unemployed;
- Had a particularly high-value set of skills that were hard to find, and that companies were prepared to pay a premium for;
- Were approaching the end of your career, and had a great network of powerful contacts who were prepared to compensate you handsomely for some consulting (often business-development-related).