As we are heading towards a digital revolution, the future of work is changing rapidly, and it is the freelancers who are considered to be the go to career choice for most individuals currently. Most people do freelancing out of the sheer love to be their own boss and not have to follow a strict work schedule, others do it due to economic reasons. The number of freelancers is rising both in Europe and the United States, and the traditional 9-5 jobs are shrinking in comparison.
Freelancers are part of what is called the ‘gig economy’ where employers are hiring people based on short projects and contacted on a need-to-work basis. These jobs range from online marketing to web development and graphics designing. Individuals are vetted on trusted sites and employers can decide from a pool of freelancers for their projects. It offers a kind of flexibility that other jobs fail to provide. Gigantic websites such as Upwork and Freelancer provide millions of trusted freelancers to a wide range of clients and offer a secure platform for payment services. But this recent rise in the gig economy is raising concerns about job insecurity among individuals.
Unlike traditional jobs, freelancers do not enjoy the necessary protections from the government. Their contracts can be terminated at any moment and employers can discriminate against individuals and get away with that without facing any serious consequences. Governments around the world have been slow to adopt new policies to reflect the current job market and job seekers have been left high and dry with a lack of regulations that fail to protect their jobs.
This new reality is also allowing people to market themselves more efficiently to clients. The work style of individuals is rapidly changing, and they are gaining more autonomy in the workplace. This new-found freedom has both its upsides and its downsides.
Freelancers can increase their productivity due to enjoying personal freedoms and this affects the quality of the projects. People also do not have to suffer from stress anymore as they are in control of their work life and decide exactly what volume of work they can handle. Traditional workplaces suffer from a lack of creativity and low productivity levels as companies are slow to react to the demands of the employee.
Freelancers also suffer from payment problems if they work outside the protection of freelance websites. Communication also becomes a major barrier in receiving projects. A lot of time is wasted just on communication before getting a project contract and there is a lack of support in getting access to tools or solving problems. This rarely happens when people work for a company as they have vast resources that employees can take advantage of when they hit any roadblocks in their projects.
This profession requires a high level of responsibility that some individuals might struggle to handle. People also have to constantly update their skills and keep learning in order to stay competitive in the job market. As the efficiency of robots are increasing, the demand for jobs with high skills are increasing and the non-skilled jobs are decreasing as they are being eaten up by robots. So, in order to find success as a freelancer, people have to work much harder and compete with thousands of freelancers on a single project.
Only the individuals that can handle pressure and are highly responsible can find success in this field. People’s work habits are changing thanks to the encroachment of freelance jobs in our marketplace. In the long run, it is only going to benefit humanity as the pressure of succeeding makes people invest in learning new skills and mastering their crafts. But currently, the industry needs better protection from the government if they want to protect the freelancers in a much more effective way.
With further policy support, freelancers can flourish in their fields. The new job market is also fuelling creativity among individuals and people are constantly finding innovative solutions to tackle our current problems.