In 2020, the freelance market for freelancers was greatly impacted as the business sector cancelled marketing budgets and projects were placed on hold. However thankfully it seems to be a very different story in this wave of COVID. In fact, based on the trends we’re seeing in the freelance market, it’s arguably never been a better time to freelance.

Here are our four reasons why:

1. The market for freelancers has remained stable

During the first wave of Covid businesses hit the panic button worldwide. Freelancers were often the first to go as companies pulled back on projects not knowing how long lockdown would last or what the aftermath would look like.

This time we haven’t seen the same downturn in the market as most companies have already adapted to working remotely and their businesses are more resilient and prepared for Covid.

Because of this greater resilience, it appears to be business as usual with companies pushing forward with marketing activities or strategic initiatives.

At Cavalry we’ve seen increased demand for freelancers across the board particularly in the digital sector where it’s clear companies are continuing to invest heavily. The necessary transformation and digitising of products and services have created a dramatic increase in the demand for skilled digital talent. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said that Covid has forced “10 years of digitisation in 18 months”.

On top of that, holding off hiring isn’t really a consideration either as companies understand the value of finding the right talent in a competitive environment.

Another upside for freelancers is companies working remotely have found forecasting their future needs and skills requirements more complex and therefore have relied on specialist freelancers to fill the gaps.

2. Freelancer supply doesn’t meet demand

It’s likely we’re experiencing the biggest freelance drought of our times as we witness the freelance pool shrinking while demand increases.

For starters, a lot of freelancers in the advertising and marketing sector opted for permanent roles after experiencing the insecurity of freelancing during the first round of Covid.

This migration to full-time employment has left a large gap in the freelance market at a time when companies are actively building flexibility and adaptability and relying on freelancers as a core part of the plan.

According to a Deloitte report, there’s a gap of around 60,000 digital professionals needed per annum over the next five years and with only around 4-7 thousand Australian students graduating with Computer Science Degrees, freelancers will play an instrumental part in the stopgap solution.

While Gartner is reporting that 32% of employers are replacing full-time employees with a flexible workforce and CNBC reported a 25% increase in demand for freelancers.

3. Gigs are more likely to be extended

We are seeing companies not wanting to commit to full-time roles with the unpredictability of the market and instead, they’re extending freelance contracts creating more lucrative engagements for freelancers.

We’re seeing roles extend for 3-6 months, possibly longer providing a hybrid between freelancing and full-time.

At times like this, longer gigs are appealing as they provide consistency and stability and are often offering higher day rates due to the heightened demand and scarcity of quality freelancers..

4. The scarcity of freelancers is driving rates up

The scarcity of freelancers in the market is driving up day rates in freelancers favour. This scarcity means that freelancers have more leverage to negotiate the best deal for the engagement.

The reality is that strong freelancers are getting snapped up so quickly that it’s unlikely skilled specialists are ever out of work right now. In fact it’s giving freelancers more choice within these opportunities as companies need to be flexible in the packages they offered, be it 4 day weeks or remuneration

This is particularly pronounced in the tech sector where companies are competing for the services of freelancers.

Another advantage is freelancers have more influence over how they want to work including the contract type, onsite, remote or both.

Also, more than ever before freelancers aren’t restricted by location now that every business has adapted to remote working. This has opened up even more opportunities to work anywhere in Australia or worldwide.

So after doing it tough for a while, what we’re seeing indicates this is actually an exciting and lucrative time for any skilled maker or marketing professional to take advantage of the incredible market conditions for freelancers. Jump on Calvary and see for yourself.

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