Could double-dipping be good?
According to a piece on the Huffington Post website, a double-dip recession might throw more work freelancers’ way.
The piece quotes PeoplePerHour.com, an online business that connects companies looking to outsource work and pay per hour with an international base of freelancers with skills in a huge range of fields. Although the economy has been wobbling along and there is now a looming threat of a double-dip recession, during the past 12 months, PeoplePerHour.com has detected a staggering 94% jump in employers looking for freelancers. According to PeoplePerHour founder and CEO, Zenios Thrasyvoulou, these latest figures show that “the threat of a double-dip recession means that businesses are looking to cut costs where they can.
“The increase of nearly 100% in businesses joining PeoplePerHour.com is an incredible figure, showing that in the last year, when we thought the economy was pulling out of recession, businesses were still taking action to reduce costs.
“Businesses, however, have found many positives working with freelance consultants. They cite high levels of creativity, motivation and a diversity of skills that bring significant added benefits to their businesses.”
Katie Kirk, who set up freelancersintheuk.co.uk, which provides a similar sort of website as PeoplePerHour.com but for UK-based freelancers, agrees there have been recent changes to the way businesses are operating during these uncertain times:
"At Freelancers In The UK, we saw the number of new members joining drop off last year, when businesses were slow to get their confidence back about outsourcing work. That said, we witnessed a high percentage of members renewing their listing with us, some of whom told me that they had retained their clients during the downturn. They may not have attracted many new clients during this time, so acquisition rates were low, but retaining business in uncertain economic times is impressive.
“I believe that freelancers continue to make a very valued and valid contribution to the UK economy, and should be recognised for this. There is, however, still an undercurrent of caution in some sectors, where organisations may believe that the work can be covered in-house. Freelancers are specialists in their field, highly skilled individuals who bring expertise and experience to the job without costing the employer in terms of sick pay, holiday pay, pension, training, etc.
“We've certainly seen an upturn in the number of projects being submitted to the site in the last six months, which is encouraging. The length of commission varies but the scope of the work seems to be extending.”
It appears then, that those in established freelance careers may well be able to ride out the current financial storm.
Though John Brazier, managing director of Professional Contractors Group (PCG) suggests caution: “For anyone considering going freelance, there are many challenges and going it alone – particularly in times of hardship – is a very brave step. If you go freelance, you become a business owner, not an employee, so will not receive employment benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay, pensions… And on top of this, face new operating costs, such as professional indemnity insurance and accountancy.”