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Future of Work: Will we all become freelancers?

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22 September 2015
Future of Work: Will we all become freelancers?

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion around what is termed the 'casualisation of the workforce', meaning the rising number of workers on casual or freelance contracts as opposed to in permanent positions.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, while the overall proportion of casual workers has remained constant, the number of under-30s employed on a casual basis has risen sharply.  While it is difficult to accurately measure the number of freelancers in Australia - as many 9 to 5 workers undertake freelance work in their spare time - a survey by Elance-odesk, a marketplace for freelancers, found 3.7 million Australians are engaged as freelancers in some capacity.

As advances in mobile technology and high-speed internet access continues at an astounding rate, and workers increasingly seek arrangements that align with their lifestyles and preferred ways of working, freelancing emerges as a way for workers to take complete control of their careers.

Innovative solutions to assist increasingly time-poor people have seen freelancing explode in new ways.  An example is Airtasker, a Sydney-based marketplace that allows users to outsource everyday tasks ranging from graphic design to private yoga classes to mounting and setting up someone's new television.  Platforms like this allow anyone to earn extra money by leveraging their skills or services to a wider audience.

A report produced by the company in January this year indicated that 85% of Australians believe that the traditional 9-5 working model does not suit workers in 2015, and 92% are looking for ways to earn extra money.

While many workers accustomed to the security of a permanent, full-time role might be fearful of the instability that comes along with freelancing, the increasingly high priority we place on flexibility may just overcome this concern.  In fact, the Airtasker report indicated that up to 76% of Australians feel that flexibility does make up for the lack of predictability that comes with freelancing.

So are we all destined to become full-time freelancers?  Probably not.  Some roles lend themselves better to freelance than others and as companies streamline for greater efficiency, it is likely that these roles will be moved out-of-house.  That said, we've all seen what happens during handovers when on-boarding new staff, and the need to have a thorough understanding of a business in order to contribute effectively.

If you're considering becoming a freelancer, it's crucial to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a demand for my services or is the market crowded?
  • What is the market value for my services and can that sustain me compared to my current income?
  • Where would I find work and who would I approach?
  • And critically - what are my reasons for wanting to freelance?


If possible, it's a good idea to do some freelance work after hours to get a taste for what it is like to source and secure work, and the volume of work that is potentially available.  After all, flexibility doesn't mean much if you can't pay your bills!

To discuss the benefits of freelancing versus contracting or permanent roles, get in touch with one of our consultants by clicking here.

Summary: 

If you're considering becoming a freelancer, it's crucial to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a demand for my services or is the market crowded?
  • What is the market value for my services and can that sustain me compared to my current income?
  • Where would I find work and who would I approach?
  • And critically - what are my reasons for wanting to freelance?