In fact, by some estimates, freelancers and the many derivatives of that are expected to make up 50% of the workforce by the year 2020. And many workers are happily embracing this trend. After all, the gig-based economy comes with its own unique set of perks. The biggest? More freedom to do what you love!
A study by the Freelancers Union found that earning extra money and schedule flexibility were the top drivers of freelancing. (Note: Freelancing includes supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, both long- and short-term) And there are many different ways these people choose to be engaged. Companies that are the most flexible get to look at a bigger pool and get the best workers.
The study also highlighted the following trends:
- More than 1/3 of freelancers reported increased demand for their services.
- The demand for freelancers is highest in IT and digital fields.
- More than 1/2 of freelancers began freelancing by choice, not necessity.
- More than 1/3 of freelancers expect to increase the amount of time they spend freelancing in the coming year.
- The large majority of freelancers reported feeling "highly satisfied" or "satisfied" by their work.
On the flip side, the study found that finding opportunities for work was the biggest challenge facing freelancers. However, the opportunities in this economy are as vast as they are varied.
'Freelance' doesn't have to mean short-term
"Permalance" jobs, which are essentially long-term contract positions (full-time, 40 hours a week) without company-offered benefits, but that doesn't mean there aren't real advantages to taking on a permalance position. The following are just a few ways you can benefit from a long-term contract, position:
- Get traditional benefits through ektello. When you land a full-time gig through an agency like ektello, you are eligible for health benefits, paid time off and paid vacation days - truly giving you the best of both worlds!
- Get job security without the commitment. Permalance positions typically last about 1 to 5 years, which means you get the benefit of a steady income, with a defined timeframe.
- Test-drive a new company or industry. A permalance position allows you, and the company you're doing work for, to test the waters. Whether it's a company in your field, or an industry that's new to you, a long-term contract position can be a great way for both sides to determine whether it's a good fit.
- Beef up your resume. One of the biggest perks to a long-term contract position is the opportunity to, not only avoid a lengthy gap in your resume, but to also add valuable expertise that you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to include.
- Potential to make more money. Your pay rate will likely be higher than that of a traditional full-time employee.
Find security in an uncertain job market
There are unique challenges that accompany every type of position - whether it's freelance, permalance or gig-based. The following are 3 of the most common challenges jobseekers face, and the best ways to navigate them.
1. Finding job opportunities. Working with a recruiter or staffing agency is one of the best ways to stay connected, as they are generally industry experts with their finger on the pulse of your local job market. And with established connections to a large network of employers and knowledge of which companies embrace the different ways people want to work, a recruiter will not only be the first to know about many available positions, but will also be able to make sure your resume gets in front of the right person. There are a myriad of ways to find your own connections, as well. You can attend meet-up groups, seek out local events or conferences on topics related to your field, reach out to your LinkedIn community, or simply browse freelance job sites.
2. Tax consequences. Working as an independent contractor comes with the same tax liability, and requires excellent record-keeping skills to avoid pulling out your hair at the end of the year. However, working through a staffing agency like ektello takes this burden off of your plate by setting up your work through a W2 contract. It's a benefit that you - and your hair - will be grateful for come January 1.
3. Uncertainty. Like it or not, the new "gig" economy is here to stay. While that might be bad news for traditional employees, it means freelancers and contract workers will continue to have an abundance of opportunities - especially in the IT and creative fields.
So whether you're looking for a contract position or you're simply seeking supplemental freelance work, talk to a recruiter today, and start taking advantage of the benefits this new economy has to offer.