Australians moonlight as freelancers to earn extra

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Freelance designer Fidel Lezcano (R), 28, shows a website for a client in Havana, Cuba, May 25, 2016. Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini

Latest data shows that Australians are increasingly opting for freelance jobs. P2P pioneers such as Upwork, Freelancer and Airtasker are starting to alter the face of the Australian workforce.

Based on an analysis by Upwork, one third of the Aussie workforce or an estimated 4.1 million Australians are sailing away from the salaried harbour. Some of those who have regular jobs, about 746,000 people, go freelancing to earn extra. Two in five have considered full-time freelancing.

The number of Aussies that do freelance jobs has grown to more than 370,000. That is a shift for a workforce segment that did not exist ten years ago.

Sixty percent of respondents say technology has made finding work easier. Ten percent say they consider freelance jobs after they have retirement for an added source of income.

The majority of people or 57 percent who do freelancing joined the freelance revolution by choice, not out of necessity. Some factors that lure them into freelancing jobs include flexibility, freedom and improved work and life balance, the Herald Sun notes. 

The most optimistic about the future of freelancing are millennials. Seventy percent said they would recommend it to their family members and friends.

According to the CSIRO report “Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce,” today’s employment market is marked differently from that of the past. Several Aussies rely on technology and the internet to get the job done.

The report suggests that future jobs are likely to become more networked, connected, agile and flexible.  “Companies may opt for staffing models which include a smaller number of core staff, with many other roles provided by the freelancer or portfolio worker community,” the report reads.

Furthermore, the report notes that the peer-to-peer market increasingly gains thrust. This can be seen by the growth of platforms like Uber, AirBnB, Etsy and RateSetter. 

The report says websites like Upwork, Freelancer, Kaggle and InnoCentive let employers and potential employees to advertise opportunities for employment. Through these platforms, people looking for work can also promote themselves and get access to job markets.

The P2P market lets Aussies offer a huge range of services. It means even small tasks can be outsourced to the market during and outside of regular business hours.

Meanwhile, the Department of Employment has released a list of the largest numbers of new jobs that can be expected by 2020. These include general sales assistants, registered nurses, child carers, accountants and electricians among others.

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