Probably the majority of people you know, from your family members, through friends to neighbors, work in some hierarchical organization managed by one central figure or a group of such figures. Right? They stay at work in a strictly defined time frame, as shift-time employees, or someone of that sort. However, not everybody is cut out for such working conditions and lifestyle. Stable as it may seem, some people simply do not find full-time employment appealing.
And it is a growing tendency. For instance, a 2014 study commissioned by the Freelancers Union shows that 53 million Americans are independent workers, which oscillates about 34 percent of the total workforce and is expected to reach 50 percent by 2020. When it comes to In the UK, the Professional Contractors Group estimates that there are 1.4 million British freelancers working across all sectors and this has grown 14% in the past decade. Besides, In 2013, the number of businesses hiring freelancers online increased 46%. As for Europe, a report called “Future Working: The Rise of Europe’s Independent Professionals” shows that freelance numbers have increased by 45% from just under 6.2 million to 8.9 million in 2013, making them the fastest-growing group in the EU labor market.
Those numbers are supported by trends and movements in the modern labor market. Martin Konrad writes in his article ”Freelancers Make Up 34 Percent of the U.S. Workforce. Here’s How to Find, Hire and Manage Them” that, first of all, one of those trends are new ways of sourcing and hiring. What does it mean? It means that together with the incensement of the need to use independent contractors, the need to create more efficient ways to find, hire and manage them is greater. The invaluable help to non-full-time-employees is the fast-developing technology, and online freelance marketplaces considered to have been the most common way to find and engaged remote talent quickly. Such a handy solution is, for example, RemoteCamp. The idea behind this tool is to help companies automate the process of coordinating on-demand laborers, enable monitoring their working time and facilitate the cooperation between co-workers. What is more, RC is equipped with timesheets, reports and offers to screenshot one’s work that is to automate the whole process of project management. The second tendency is the automation of administration. ”When freelancers are hired at scale, it adds a great degree of complexity to management,” claims Konrad. In the past, business enterprises have been using tools such as email to manage their freelancers, independent contractors and suppliers, but it changed due to the rise of so-called “on-demand economy,” being in need of flexible and independent workers. It made Excel insufficient tool and called for new solutions, new ways of working. The last trend is misclassification and compliance management, the cause of numerous malfeasances. It happens because ”the lines between nonemployee and full-time employment workers continually blur, and while some organizations may be tempted try to push the boundaries of an independent contractor relationship to avoid paying taxes or employee benefits, the risk is simply not worth it.”
Knowing that the number of freelancers is growing and market trends support this phenomenon, it is worth understanding employees-to-be motivations. According to Elaine Pofeldt’s ”Freelancers Now Make Up 35% Of U.S. Workforce,” a major ”factor driving the recent uptick in the number of freelancers is young adults’ affinity for independent work.” And this concerns not only the young. Many freelancers are said to like the lifestyle. The average full-time freelancer in the survey quoted by Pofeldt ”works 36 hours a week, less than the standard 40-hour workweek–and most say they have the right amount of work. What allure many people to leave a stable work behind is a desire to have a ‘‘freelance 360-degree’ life where they can decide what they want to do and how much they want to work.” Moreover, the already mentioned technology make freelancing attractive since it facilitates the process of finding freelance work easier. But though such reason can be multiplied, one is particularly significant – the to be one’s own boss.
Freelancing can be a difficult choice to make, demanding a lot of self-discipline, a good work organization and be aware that profits may sometime be less than enough. But many people decide to it either way. Flexibility, more time to spend with family and no manger peaking over one’s shoulder are sometimes a reason good enough.