Pandemic and Great Resignation Has Led to Greater Demand for Freelancers

  • In 2021, nearly half (45%) of freelancers saw an increase in demand as a result of Covid-19 and the Great Resignation
  • Almost three quarters (72%) of freelancers say they are now happier than when in full-time employment

COVID-19 has completely disrupted how businesses source talent in the UK, with companies increasingly seeking freelance workers to fill the growing vacancies caused by the Great Resignation and to benefit from additional specialist skills freelancers provide.

In 2021, nearly half (45%) of freelancers across the UK and US saw an increased demand as a result of Covid-19 and the resulting Great Resignation, according to research analysing contractor trends from Worksome, the tech platform connecting businesses with freelancers.

Job vacancies in the UK are at an all-time high at the moment, while a record 4.5 million American workers quit their jobs in November owing to the Great Resignation. The Great Resignation, caused by months of remote working during the pandemic led many workers to reassess their careers, job satisfaction and in a large number of cases, resign. 14% of freelancers in the US & UK said that the Great Resignation had directly led to them becoming a freelancer.

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Freelancers claim to be more satisfied than when working full time, with nearly three quarters (72%) happier and 61% claiming to have more free time. The Covid-19 pandemic cast a stark light on work-life balance and changing attitudes to flexible working, and this is nowhere more reflective than in the growing freelance community.

Job flexibility and work life balance (78%) are the most important motivators for freelance workers, 8% higher than money (70%). Interestingly, freelance work is also now allowing workers to focus on the causes that matter to them, with purpose (66%) also listed as one of the top motivators.

The increased demand for freelancers is also being reflected in the remuneration they are able to command, with many day rates in excess of full-time earnings. Those freelancers that have worked previously in full time employment stated that they now earn more, with over half (53%) saying they earn more as a freelancer than they did as a permanent employee.

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Despite the multiple benefits of freelancing, there are still challenges. Freelancers admitted that the most common challenges they face are finding the right job, deciding the right pricing and taxes & accounting.

Like permanent work, there are also still prejudices that exist like, for example, age discrimination. Nearly a quarter of freelancers (23%) have experienced challenges finding work due to their age. The age group claiming to be experiencing this the most is the 50-59 year old (29%) bracket, indicating that age discrimination is a significant but often ignored problem in the workplace.

Morten Petersen, CEO and Co-Founder, Worksome said:

“The world of freelance work continues to evolve in line with changes accelerated by the pandemic. While a significant portion of workers moved to freelancing as a result of Covid-19 and the Great Resignation, competitive rates of pay, better work life balance and purpose are making freelance work a compelling long term career for those in multiple sectors around the world.”

Mathias Linnemann, COO and Co-Founder, Worksome said:

“This research shows positive news from the freelance community in terms of job satisfaction and remuneration. It proves that the freelance workforce is critical to secure competitive advantages for future looking companies. However, more can still be done to better utilise the skills of freelance workers while new technology can help overcome traditional pain points like finding the right job, communicating with clients and fair pricing.”

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American workersCOVID-19freelance workersjob satisfactionThe Great ResignationWorksome
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