Digital freelance and temp contracts are on the rise. What are the implications for job seekers today?
Back in 2015, we responded to increasing demand from our clients and extended our services into freelance, interim and contract recruitment. Since then, the need for such professionals has continued to rise.
Freelancing, in particular, has become more popular – both among clients and candidates. So we weren’t surprised when the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) released a study in May this year showing that, over the last ten years, the number of freelancers in the UK has increased by 47%. They are responsible for an estimated £130 billion of collective sales. That’s not to be sniffed at!
So what are the freelancing trends that impact our client and jobseekers? We took a closer look at the research from IPSE and drew a few conclusions.
Freelancing is a partnership
The benefits of freelancing to the freelancer are well documented. Many of the jobseekers we meet have started freelancing to take advantage of the flexibility and autonomy it offers. However, contrary to the popular notion of freelancers competing with established businesses, companies are well aware of the benefits too.
Another piece of research showed that they’re a crucial part of the Innovation Economy, allowing organisations to reduce entrepreneurial risk and onboard talent they would otherwise not be able to use. They also promote agility in organisations and their objective, outside perspective is highly valued.
An increasing number of new businesses, particularly in the tech and marketing sectors, are basing their business strategy around a network of freelancers that they can employ on a project-by-project basis. This gives them the chance to develop long-term relationships with their contractors – without the risk of employing someone who might not be suited to every project and client they take on.
For those wanting to establish themselves as a freelancer, these are important insights. Freelancing is a partnership. Freelancers that demonstrate an interest in their clients’ whole business will be valued more than those who only focus on producing deliverables.
There was a 63% increase in women becoming freelancers over the ten years, including an 83% increase in working mothers.
Freelancing is creating opportunities for women and working mothers
The growth in the freelance pool has been driven by an increase in the number of women taking up the freelance opportunity. There was a 63% increase in women becoming freelancers over the last ten years, including an 83% increase in working mothers.
That’s not to say that freelancing isn’t for men. But it’s heartening to see that the value businesses place on freelancers is empowering women, who often need more flexibility for caring, to stay in the workforce. Female jobseekers struggling to find the perfect permanent role should take heart from this trend.
Freelancers are highly skilled
A whopping 68% of freelancers have some kind of higher education on their CV, and 19% have a higher degree, such as a Master’s.
That makes freelancing competitive – in the sense that you need to make sure your skills are up to the mark, and that you’re not falling behind the curve. Going freelance without a plan for your personal development is a mistake – there is no employer safety net to take responsibility for it.
Fortunately, there are many training opportunities for the budding freelancer to exploit – whether that’s online training you can complete from anywhere, or networking at meetups and events in your chosen industry.