Upwork Runs Social Campaign to Encourage Gen Z to Embrace Freelancing

By Kyle O'Brien 

The future of work is graduating this June, and Gen Z is living with the new reality of work and they’re open to putting passion over paychecks if it means making a positive impact on the world.

According to Upwork research, 43% of all Gen Z freelanced in 2022, which is shaping the young generation to design their lives with freelance work prominently in the equation. Upwork’s latest study found that 65% of Gen Z say they plan to use more freelancers over the next five years than they do today.

Gen Z is also leading the way in embracing remote work. Nine out of 10 Gen Z sees remote work as a way to attract talent. Now, recent graduates with the inspiration and resources they need are redefining the meaning of a career post-graduation.


In celebration of this, Upwork has announced #UpNext23, a weeklong social media campaign designed to inspire, support, and guide the next generation as they embark on their professional journey.

“The future of work starts with Upwork,” said Melissa Waters, chief marketing officer at Upwork in a statement. “With UpNext, we’re inviting the next generation of professionals to graduate from the old ways of working and explore the endless opportunities that the new world of work has to offer. This initiative represents our commitment to empowering and inspiring the workforce of tomorrow, by providing them with the tools and resources they need to take control over their careers, pursue their passions, and find freedom in work.”

Running June 12-16 on Upwork’s owned channels, this social-first campaign will encompass posts featuring influencer speakers, helpful tips and resources aimed at assisting young talent in preparing for their next chapter.

Grammy-nominated rapper, singer, and songwriter Cordae will kick off the online event with a “commencement” speech, touching on what it takes to build a legacy, sharing his journey going from a mixtape-dropping high school kid to Grammy-nominated music star whose “Hi Level” mindset helps him achieve his dreams. Additional keynote speakers include @corporatenatalie, @saraimariee_, @lewishowes, and @advicewitherin, tackling topics ranging from humanity in a remote-first world to building work around life to freelancing.

“This collaboration with Upwork serves as an invitation to the next generation, designed to inspire them to reach their full potential and unlock the boundless possibilities as they embark on their exciting next chapters,” said Cordae in a statement. “As an artist, I’ve experienced firsthand that true fulfillment extends far beyond the boundaries of a typical 9-to-5 job. That’s why I take pride in encouraging young people to venture beyond conventional career norms, seize control of their own destinies, and redefine the meaning of success.”

This effort marks the first external project from Upwork’s in-house creative agency, Workshop, a fully remote distributed team dedicated to bringing fresh and innovative ideas to the world of work.