The various socio-economic changes, the acceleration of our lifestyles, the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing need for flexibility have permanently transformed the global labour market and generated a need for new professions and forms of employment. We are gradually witnessing the end of an era, when highly-skilled experts were hired by a single company for the entirety of their professional careers. Nowadays, a growing number of workers are in a ‘compound non-standard’ form of employment, meaning that they have a mix of non-standard work statuses such as temporary, part-time, self-employed, and many other combinations besides. This work status effectively turns an individual into a “freelancer” which is gradually becoming the new work norm and is revolutionizing how organizations and individuals worldwide engage in the global workforce. Currently, the freelance market with its broad ecosystem generates flows $6 trillion per annum, with as many as 1.2bn freelance participants. Thanks to several new trends that are gaining traction such as the Industry 4.0, Future of Work and Great Resignation, it is believed in the US alone, 50% of IT workforce, including employees of tech giants like Google, will be employed on the freelance basis.
Who qualifies as a freelancer and why is this path worth considering?
According to the dictionary definition, a freelancer is a person who pursues a profession without any long-term commitment to a particular employer. Currently, it is estimated that there are 1.2bn freelancers globally, including full-time and part-time freelancers, often called “moonlighters”. Freelancers are now becoming an integral part of many industries with the most popular being UX design, web and software development, graphic design, and marketing. These trends also happen to be amongst the fastest-growing industries in 2022 with an increasing number of professionals opting to become freelancers each day. According to the Freelance Forward Economics Report, 12% of the US workforce started freelancing in 2020 of which 75% began freelancing to improve their financial stability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even among those who put freelancing on hold for some time, 88% are still willing to return to it in the future. Furthermore, according to a short survey conducted by EonD on LinkedIn in July 2022, 85% of the participants claimed that they were ready to consider a career in the freelance sector in the near future.
What’s all the fuss about?
What exactly are the reasons for the growing popularity of freelancing? First and foremost, it is the work FLEXIBILITY, which in practice means being able to either work from home or from the office and even, should you be brave enough, from different parts of the world and time zones! Freelancing also gives workers a chance to take on jobs from many different employers at the same time, which helps them remain more INDEPENDENT and not bound to only one company. This is a perfect solution for employers too, as they need to meet specific, and sometimes very challenging client requirements, such as the problem of staffing night shifts. Freelancing is also a LUCRATIVE option for the labour market, as it makes it so much easier to find the ideal candidate. There is no longer the need to assign tasks to a member of your own team who despite having the time might not have the necessary skills and knowledge. Freelancers are also a more COST-EFFECTIVE CHOICE than full-time workers. It is generally believed that onboarding costs can reach up to $20,000 – 40,000 for a small to medium business in the US. These costs can be almost fully eliminated by hiring short-term freelancers. One report from the Kelly Outsourcing and Consulting Group claims that 43% of talent managers who use freelancers have reported a 20% save in labour costs. Now that’s what employers like to hear!
The darker side of freelancing
Despite a few downsides, more and more people have decided to change their traditional way of earning a living. It seems that now is a perfect time for workers to focus on their self-development and to seriously consider starting work in freelancing. To ease into this slowly, they have the opportunity to be a moonlighter at first, meaning they can work part-time in addition to their long-term, traditional contract. This gives workers a taste of the future of work while providing job security and a chance to withdraw at any point. Over time, as part-time freelancers grow more familiar with their new work environment, learn about its benefits but also its downsides, they will have the opportunity to fully transfer to freelance.
If you are considering becoming a freelancer yourself, it is a great time to sign up to some of the available freelance platforms. These many websites allow you to get to know the new work trends, the skills that are currently in high demand, and the estimated market pricing for workers with your unique skills. You may also find your first extra job there and increase your monthly income! And finally, don’t forget that here at EonD we are always looking for new talent to add to our digital roster. By signing up to our EonD Platform, you will have a unique opportunity to join an international network of highly-skilled experts, consultants and professionals. The Future is here, so don’t miss out on your chance for a big change!