Expert360 has released recently its inaugural “Freelancing in Australia” report, which unpacks the key drivers and barriers for freelance professionals.
The report found flexibility is the most common driver with 31.2 per cent of total survey respondents and almost half (46.5 per cent) of female respondents citing it as a driver. The majority of respondents (80.3 per cent) who the question applied to also reported freelancing supports their ambitions to keep doing paid work as well as parenting/caring unpaid work.
Flexibility was followed by the benefit of being one’s own boss (23.4 per cent), having diversity of work (15.8 per cent) along with increased earning potential (15.5 per cent).
CEO of Expert360, Bridget Loudon, said freelancing is a lifestyle that appeals to many Australian professionals.
“Greater flexibility and autonomy are increasingly sought out by professionals. Not only does freelancing enable workers to pursue their desired lifestyle, it also promotes career satisfaction and lifelong learning that comes with diversity of work”, she said.
However, flexibility and autonomy by their very nature come with uncertainty; a fact that was reflected in the data. Over a third (38 per cent) of freelance professionals surveyed consider job security to be the biggest downside the freelancing. Other pain points include a limited sense of community (12.4 per cent), concerns over payment terms (11.7 per cent), and reservations over the increased admin load of working independently (11.7 per cent).
Despite these barriers, a notable 18.4 per cent of respondents said no amount of money could entice them back into full-time work.
“For many of our freelancers the work life balance and career benefits they gain from freelancing far outweighs the lure of extra cash. The fact that almost 20 per cent of respondents said no amount of money would entice them into full-time work and a further 28.6 per cent said they’d need to be offered more than $100,000 annually, shows how committed they are to this way of working”.
The data also showed that as far as professional freelancers are concerned, corporates have a long way to go in terms of freelancer management. 81 per cent of freelance professionals believe Human Capital Management systems are making companies inefficient.
London noted, “Managing a non-permanent workforce isn’t easy. It requires significant insight and visibility across the entire organisation. Not only do you need to source, engage and manage individual freelancers, you need to ensure consistency across hiring practices, on and offboarding processes, payment and performance”.
“Improving the non-permanent employee experience through proper freelance management solutions should be a top priority for Human Resource Directors and Procurement Professionals. This means addressing key issues raised by freelancers, in particular clarity of instruction which was flagged by 52.2 per cent of respondents, as well as overall management, company culture and timely payments,” she said.