Community

Australia’s freelance economy grows to 4.1 million workers, study finds

Australia’s freelance economy grows to 4.1 million workers, study finds

AUSTRALIA’S hidden economy added a further 370,000 to its ranks in the past 12 months, with nearly one third of the workforce now taking part in freelance work, according to a new study by jobs marketplace Upwork.

With sites like Upwork, Freelancer, Airtasker, 99designs and Expert360 rapidly gaining popularity, it’s no surprise that an estimated 4.1 million people, or around 32 per cent of the workforce, have done freelance work in the past year.

While many it may be tempting to blame the rise of freelancing on Australia’s uncomfortably high under-utilisation rate and growing casualisation of the workforce, Upwork’s survey found the majority (58 per cent) of freelancers said they made the shift by choice.

Just over half (51 per cent) who left traditional employment now earn more, and of those, 69 per cent said they topped their previous income within a year. Fifty-eight per cent said they would not quit and go back to a traditional job, no matter how much it paid.

“This is something that’s pretty flabbergasting,” said Rich Pearson, senior vice president, marketing and categories at Upwork.

Mr Pearson said Australia appeared to be embracing freelancing much more quickly than other countries, with mobile development in particular booming.

“Freelancing in Australia is a powerful movement and it’s changing how people approach and even define work,” he said. “It used to be something you said out the side of your mouth, maybe you weren’t so proud to admit, but it’s becoming a much more respected and desirable career path, even aspirational.”

More than three quarters (79 per cent) of non-freelancers said they were open to the idea, and out of moonlighters — those who have fulltime employment but dabble on the side — 40 per cent said they had considered leaving traditional employment altogether.

This year, the most notable change in demographics was with millennials, with 42 per cent of now freelancing compared to just 33 per cent in 2014. They now make nearly half (47 per cent) of the freelance workforce.

In Australia, the largest category for freelancers is web, mobile and software development (44 per cent), followed by design and creative (14 per cent), customer and admin support (13 per cent), sales and marketing (10 per cent) and writing (8 per cent).

Mr Pearson said the National Broadband Network was top of mind for freelancers, with 63 per cent wanting the government to invest more in digital infrastructure to make it easier for them to find a job. Unsurprisingly, technology is the big driver, with the number of freelancers who had obtained a project online increasing to 41 per cent from 30 per cent in 2014.

Bridget Loudon, founder of freelance high-end consulting platform Expert360, said young professionals were becoming increasingly comfortable stepping out of the workforce earlier to take on freelance work.

“We’re not creating a movement, we’re simply putting infrastructure around a macro shift that is clearly already happening,” she said.

Expert360 has 5000 consultants on its platform, many of whom left the major accounting firms such as Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and Ernst & Young, which have churn rates of up to 30 per cent per year.

“As companies begin to value it more we’ve seen the average daily rate for freelance and consulting work go up to about $1500 a day, which is about three times what you would get in an equivalent role,” she said.

Expert360 has had around $21 million worth of jobs posted since launch two years ago, compared with the more than $1 billion spent annually on Upwork.

The study, conducted by research firm Edelman Berland in August this year, surveyed a representative sample of 1000 Australian adults who had undertaken paid work in the past 12 months.

Online Source

The Indian Telegraph Sydney

Community

More in Community

Western Sydney Poised To Benefit From NSW Premier’s India Visit

Vish ViswanathanApril 17, 2018

Let’s Take Yoga To Work

Susheela SrinivasApril 12, 2018

Australia India Youth Dialogue Strengthens Bilateral Ties

Scott FarlowApril 12, 2018

A Weekend In Hunter Valley

Jyotsna SharmaApril 12, 2018

To Eat Or Not To Eat

Madhusmitha KrishnamurthyApril 12, 2018

Akki’s Selfie With Suniel Shetty Takes Us Back To The Good Old Days

The Indian TelegraphApril 3, 2018

Operation Merrett To Keep NSW Drivers On Track This Easter

The Indian TelegraphMarch 28, 2018

Tales Of Tarts

Kavita ShyamMarch 20, 2018

Classical Delights For Dance Lovers

Vish ViswanathanMarch 20, 2018

Over 400 BAPS Volunteers Gear Up To Welcome Chief

Vish ViswanathanMarch 20, 2018

Pitroda In The House

The Indian TelegraphMarch 20, 2018

Love For Love’s Sake

Twinkle GhoshMarch 6, 2018

Sri ‘Diva’ No more

Aarti Kapur SinghMarch 6, 2018

Healthy Obesity: Fact or Fiction?

Madhusmitha KrishnamurthyMarch 6, 2018

Bollywood’s First Female Superstar Sridevi Passes Away at 54

The Indian TelegraphFebruary 25, 2018

Top of the Class

Rekha RajvanshiFebruary 20, 2018

New Laws Protect Students From Sexual Predators

The Indian TelegraphFebruary 20, 2018

From Baahubali to Butter Chicken: Prabhas Unplugged

Aarti Kapur SinghFebruary 20, 2018

Pink Or Blue?

ManasiFebruary 20, 2018

The Curious Case Of Anant Ambani

Twinkle GhoshFebruary 20, 2018

Time for a “SAVE ADANI” yet?

Vish ViswanathanFebruary 7, 2018