Australia’s freelance economy now has over 4.1 million workers filed in its ranks. That’s one third of the workforce. With more Australians choosing to freelance, how can businesses adapt? How can small businesses prepare themselves for the change? And what benefits will businesses enjoy if they embrace the contingent workforce?
Millions of people across Australia are abandoning the full-time office in favour of a more independent, freelance lifestyle.
Research from jobs marketplace, Upwork, estimates that 32% of the Australian workforce performed temporary, short-term or contract freelance work from 2014-15. That’s equal to around 4.1 million freelancers across all industries.
The study found that flexibility and freedom are key drivers turning people to freelancing work. While it’s the younger generation leading the trend, with nearly half of freelancers being under the age of 35, it’s interesting to note that 20% of freelancers are over 55.
Freelance journalist Rachel Smith runs Rachel’s List, a successful online members-only jobs site servicing more than 4000 freelancers across Australia’s creative industries.
“The shift towards freelance – and away from the traditional, nine-five, ‘bums-on-seats’ type of employment – is growing, and studies tend to bear this out,” says Smith.
“In our 2015 Show Me The Money survey, the majority of Rachel’s List members reported that they have been freelancing for just a short time – 22% had freelanced for between two-to-four years, with another 19.5% freelancing just one-to-two years.
“So it’s a growing trend for people to take that leap into working for themselves.”