One-third of Australians prefer freelance work

By @Shayani92 on
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Employees work inside the office of U.S. online cab-hailing company Uber, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, April 24, 2015. Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee

According to a new survey, nearly one-third of Australia’s workforce is engaged in freelance work, adding 370,000 more to its ranks over the past year.

The survey by job site Upwork showed that around 4.1 million people opt for freelance work, which accounts for $51 billion of the Australian economy. As reported by news.com.au, sites like Freelancer, Upwork, Airtasker, Expert360 and 99designs are gaining massive popularity in recent times, with half of all freelancers saying they wouldn’t stop freelancing for any amount of money.

The survey revealed that the trend of freelancing was particularly seen among Gen Ys and baby boomers. Meanwhile, 31 percent of moonlighters said they had thought of quitting their full-time job and freelancing, while non-freelancers said they would opt for such work once it was available to them.

Upwork’s survey found that 58 percent of Australians involved in freelancing shift to such domains by choice. Many who have left their previous jobs for freelance work have reported higher incomes within a year. They also said they wouldn’t rejoin their previous job regardless of the salary they were getting.

One freelancer, Cameron Rambert, said that the most important thing to note before freelancing is to have a strong reason to do it. His venture, Freelance Melbourne, which started off as an informal gathering for freelancers, now hosts about 350 young professionals who meet twice a month.

Rich Pearson, senior vice president, marketing and categories at Upwork, said that Australians were quick to embrace the freelance culture, particularly with the rise of mobile development.

“This is something that’s pretty flabbergasting,” he said, noting the increasing numbers of people opting for freelance work. “Freelancing in Australia is a powerful movement and it’s changing how people approach and even define work.

“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.”

Similarly, Bridget Loudon, the founder of freelance consulting platform Expert360, believes that people are getting more comfortable with freelance working.

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

The original figure in this article was incorrectly stated as 3.7 million. This has been modified with the correct figure.

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