Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Freelance Work is Dominating the Job Market

I got a nice email from Elance today informing be that there are now over 53 million Americans doing freelance work! Granted, I believe the number includes people who may only do freelance on the side or a couple of times a year to earn some spare change, but still....okay?

With this huge shift in workforce setting, what does that mean for those of us who freelance for a living vs those of us who don't?

Companies are relying more and more on utilizing freelancers, they often only need them for projects or jobs that have a finite time frame, so it ends up being much cheaper to hire a freelancer rather than a full time employee with all those pesky benefits. 2% of the standard work force positions are being awarded to freelancers.

Surely the current freelancers are seeing less demand for their work now that the freelancer supply has grown so large though... Actually, quite the opposite has happened. In the last year, twice as many freelancers saw an increase in demand than those who saw a decrease.

Other than location, the requirements for freelancing are comparable with the traditional workforce. Jobs still tend to go to those who have more than a high school education and more experience in their field than those who have little experience and limited education.

So why doesn't everybody do it? Freelancing is not something anyone does out of necessity (or at least extreme necessity), if you need a stable pay check, freelancing is probably not for you. Don't get me wrong, you can have some REALLY GREAT weeks, but they may be followed by a month of nothing but cricket sounds as you wait around for other work. Fittingly, financial necessity is not one of the highest reasons freelancers have chosen the trade. Schedule flexibility, pursuing projects your passionate about, strengthening skills, and spending more time with friends and family are all highly valued reasons people freelance.

So what will the next several years look like for us freelancers? First of all, traditional insurance and loan options will have to adjust to fit the growing freelance market. There will likely also be more freelance buildings where people can go, share ideas, have access to internet....I know, I'm basically describing a Starbucks...but one great-big-giant Starbucks...with free coffee?

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