The world of work is continuously evolving, with technology and lifestyle priorities meaning there are increased opportunities to explore and enjoy the perks of being a freelancer. Highlighted in our Freelance Report, Major Players experienced a 30% increase in the number of freelance vacancies across the creative, digital and marketing industries over the past year. However, with an increased demand for flexible freelancers, comes with it the challenges presented by a self-led income.
Many freelancers are attracted to higher rates of pay, flexible work/life balance and the idea of ‘being your own boss’ but do the perks outweigh the challenges faced? We surveyed 231 freelancers in the creative, marketing and digital industries to uncover key insights into the freelance way of life – from the average working hours, daily rates and downtime, to the central issues they face, and motivations for deciding to embark on a freelance career in the first place.
When questioned as to their reasons for freelancing, 54% of our respondents highlighted that flexibility – choosing who they work with – was a leading factor alongside the variety of assignments and an increase in their salary each month (52% of the freelancers stated they believe they are financially better off). Redundancy and age were other factors respondents revealed prevented them from securing a permanent role.
While the flexibility of freelancing is attractive to the majority that make the switch, some find the inconsistency to be challenging with the lack of internal support difficult. Our respondents highlighted that maintaining a supply of work is the biggest concern for freelancers, with 58% describing it as a significant or very significant challenge. The mistreatment of freelancers, particularly concerning timely payment, is also a cause for concern.
Despite the challenges faced, the freelance market is growing – and will continue to grow – but freelancers need a more consistent supply of work, a community of other freelancers and support from employers /recruitment consultancies to help their careers flourish, whether that be through networking and training opportunities or general career advice.
Like any career change, choosing to go freelance has both pros and cons. Before making the switch sit yourself down and work out if the flexibility outweighs the challenge of an uncertain workload. Our freelance report offers a detailed insight into both sides of the story and if the lack of support and community is flagging up red, take a look at our Major Collective scheme which we offer to all freelancers that have worked with us on a minimum of three bookings. The new community helps those working for themselves forge a longer-term career with training, benefits, events and access to talk to other freelancers.