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Many freelance professionals, working as independent consultants and contractors, report no amount of money would tempt them back into permanent full-time work.

Expert360 has today released it’s inaugural ‘Freelancing in Australia’ report, which unpacks the key drivers and barriers for freelance professionals.

The report found flexibility is the most common driver with 31.2% of total survey respondents and almost half (46.5%) of female respondents citing it as a driver. The majority of respondents (80.3%) who the question applied to also reported freelancing supports their ambitions to keep doing paid work as well as parenting/caring unpaid work.

Flexibility was followed by the benefit of being one’s own boss (23.4%), having a diversity of work (15.8%) along with increased earning potential (15.5%).

CEO of Expert360, Bridget Loudon, said freelancing is a lifestyle that appeals to many Australian professionals.

“Greater flexibility and autonomy are increasingly sought out by professionals. Not only does freelancing enable workers to pursue their desired lifestyle, it also promotes career satisfaction and lifelong learning that comes with diversity of work”, she said.

However, flexibility and autonomy by their very nature come with uncertainty; a fact that was reflected in the data. Over a third (38%) of freelance professionals surveyed consider job security to be the biggest downside the freelancing. Other pain points include a limited sense of community (12.4%), concerns over payment terms (11.7%), and reservations over the increased admin load of working independently (11.7%).

Despite these barriers, a notable 18.4% of respondents said no amount of money could entice them back into full-time work.

“For many of our freelancers the work-life balance and career benefits, they gain from freelancing far outweighs the lure of extra cash. The fact that almost 20% of respondents said no amount of money would entice them into full-time work and a further 28.6% said they’d need to be offered more than $100,000 annually, shows how committed they are to this way of working”.

The data also showed that as far as professional freelancers are concerned, corporates have a long way to go in terms of freelancer management.

“Managing a non-permanent workforce isn’t easy. It requires significant insight and visibility across the entire organisation. Not only do you need to source, engage and manage individual freelancers, you need to ensure consistency across hiring practices, on and offboarding processes, payment and performance”.

“81% of freelance professionals believe Human Capital Management systems are making companies inefficient. This is a big concern for enterprise companies who are competing with each other to secure top talent.

“Improving the non-permanent employee experience through proper freelance management solutions should be a top priority for Human Resource Directors and Procurement Professionals. This means addressing key issues raised by freelancers, in particular, clarity of instruction which was flagged by 52.2% of respondents, as well as overall management, company culture and timely payments”.

Key findings include:

  • Almost a quarter (23.7%) of freelance professionals have over 10 years of experience freelancing. 28.2% have 2-5 years experience freelancing.
  • 18.4% of respondents said no amount of money would entice them back into full-time work,
  • The majority (84%) of freelance professionals identify with the title Consultant. Only 2.2% identify with the term Gig worker.
  • 80.3% of parents/carers said freelancing supports their ambitions to keep doing paid work as well as parenting/caring unpaid work.
  • 81.2% of freelance professionals think HCM and VMS systems are making companies inefficient.
  • Clarity of instruction (52.2%), management (42.9%), timely payments (37.7%) and scope adherence (34.7%) impact whether a company is a good freelance employer
  • Freelance professionals are highly educated. 64.2% had a postgraduate degree or MBA
  • The majority (80.3%) of freelance professionals are aged 40-69 years of age. Female freelance professionals are more likely to be in the 30-39 age bracket.
  • Only 18% of respondents said they had not undertaken a skills/education increase since becoming a freelancer. 23% said they had undertaken five or more since becoming a freelancer and 18% had undertaken one within the last year.
  • Only a small proportion (7.1%) of surveyed freelancers reported completing either all of their work at home.
  • The majority of survey respondents currently freelance full-time (64.3%).
  • More than half (51.7%) of surveyed freelancers believe they are treated better as a freelancer than in previous full and part-time roles.
  • Flexible schedule (32.1%), being their own boss (23.4%) and diversity of work (15.8%) were the leading reasons surveyed professionals chose to make the jump to freelancing.

270 freelance professionals responded to the survey which was sent out to Expert360’s Australian database. 71.9% of the respondents were male and 27% female.

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