Why freelancing is more in demand than ever

Why freelancing is more in demand than ever

In recent years, a notable trend among the young Filipino workforce is the tangible increase of those foregoing the usual 9-5 office job, with its attached responsibilities and constraints – in favor of a more fluid work arrangement that allows for greater flexibility in time, workspace and priorities.  Admittedly a system that doesn’t work for everyone, the heightened popularity and legitimacy of choosing freelancing as a career option is nonetheless made sustainable by a real and significantly rising demand for freelancers in the evolving labor market.

A small permanent workforce, and the centrality of technology in operations, plus the financial and logistical limitations of the enterprising young people, mompreneurs, and tech-savvy businessmen dominate the industry parallel the SMEs’ recent large-scale boom in the Philippines. Yet, interestingly enough, rather than pose a real hindrance, these limitations instead encourage SMEs to think and operate outside the conventional box in a manner that favors a win-win scenario for the resource-constrained SME and the client-hunting freelancer.

These are just some of the main reasons why SMEs heavily and continuously work with freelancers:

 

  • Affordability

To a greater extent than in other industries, SMEs are particularly vulnerable to an external and often uncontrollable environment defined by competition, the need for constant clientele, and market behavior. In practice, this means that the highs and lows of business are unpredictable and as consequence, staffing needs vary so that the financial limitations of SMEs make it costly to maintain the staff levels of a good business period with particular business needs at a time when the business climate is less productive or when business needs are different.

Enter the freelancer.

Freelance labor provides an avenue for SMEs to fulfill current staffing needs sans obligation of keeping an employee when the function for which he or she was hired is no longer needed. An arrangement favoring both parties by allowing the freelancer liberty to entertain other clients, and permitting SMEs to keep staff levels down to only the absolute necessary and save on staff that would otherwise serve redundant functions, the hiring of freelancers likewise allows enterprises to save on employee healthcare and cost-sharing on government mandated memberships such as SSS, GSIS, Philhealth and Pag-IBIG.

 

  • Professional Experience and Expertise

For the most part, a freelance workforce launches careers by providing services to a variety of sectors in various local and foreign locations, the result of the easy access provided by modern technology – thereby breeding in the individual freelancer a wide reservoir of knowledge in different fields and cultural perspectives. Inevitably, this translates to a unique professional value in the operation of most SMEs, especially in first, securing for the enterprise a capacity for innovation and idea generation, second, in the non-exigency of investing resources for the training of personnel that cannot make an immediate contribution, and last, in the freelancer’s immediate capability to make valuable contributions to the enterprise’s operations.

Following this line, the nature of this on-the-job formation further furnishes freelancers with exposure and access to the array of expertise sought by SMEs to the extent that some come to specialize and contribute in a given field, this without pressure on the hiring enterprise to maintain them onboard when their expertise is no longer needed. Yet this does not preclude the end of a working relationship and many SMEs are careful to maintain good relations with performing freelancers in view of possible collaboration in future projects.

 

  • Efficient and Timely Provision of Services

A flexible timetable numbers among the principal selling points for joining a freelance workforce, allowing for more time to devote to the family, personal pursuits and development, or in branching out to different career fields. Interestingly enough however, this kind of freedom does not take away from a prevailing consciousness among freelancers that their professional survival is contingent on the ability to produce and to constantly appeal to a clientele whose demands they must consistently meet and if possible, exceed.

To this end, SMEs have come to associate freelance labor with high-quality outputs delivered in the shortest possible time, the speed and efficiency of which are especially made possible by independence from the time-consuming constraints of office politics, workplace hierarchy, and corporate red tape. Going further, the flexibility of the freelancer additionally benefits enterprise by providing them the possibility of following-up or conveying project concerns to the freelancer at hours outside of the enterprise’s usual 9-5 schedule.

 

Taking the status quo of the Philippine market into consideration, what these factors highlight is the persistence and sustained growth of a work environment now more than ever favorable towards those who choose to become part of the freelance workforce. Without question, this remains a career choice not entirely risk-free, the cons of which include greater difficulty in acquiring financial security due to an unpredictable business environment mirroring that of SMEs, and the absence of healthcare usually provided by the employer. 

Of note however, the evolution of the labor market is increasingly twinned by the provision by third-party services of tailor-fitted solutions such as financial investment plans and affordable prepaid healthcare to safeguard for the individual freelancers these securities, and guaranteeing them choice and freedom in their chosen line of work sans compromising on the personal security that they can enjoy both now or in a very distant future.

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