Local fresh grads choose flexibility

Today, our dear friend Kally shares a pertinent piece regarding the gig economy trend among today's teens and young graduates. Even in Singapore. Enjoy.

Back in the past, fresh graduates in Singapore and other parts of the globe are expected to find stable jobs. These jobs would have regular work hours and a fixed salary. Promotion will require the employee to have a longer tenure in the company. Many have stayed in their jobs for more than 10 years and would consider their jobs as iron rice bowls.

However, there is now a growing trend around the world of workers now preferring to work as a freelancer. Many young Singaporeans prefer this type of work rather than getting a 9 to 5 job. According to a report from Singapore Business in 2017, at least 180,000 freelancers cover 8.3% of the Singaporean workforce. Those who use online platforms for gigs are around 20,000 according to the Manpower Ministry.

Why are young Singaporeans lured into freelancing?

Flexibility is a major sticking point for many young Singaporeans in becoming a freelancer. In freelancing, one has full control over every aspect of their work. They can set their own schedule on when they want to work or when they are going to take a break. They also do not have to file for leave, which may be rejected if one was in a full-time job. When you take on a task, you and your client agree on a deadline and submit during that time.

Freelancing also allows workers to pick the tasks they want to do. For example, even if you have a degree in Mathematics, you can select tasks not involving math. You can even pursue the passions you love and earn from it.

If you have a talent for art, you can take jobs that will let you create. Clients even allow freelancers to creative freedoms when they are requested to work on projects. Some even credit the freelancer for their work if it is exceptional. Since time is flexible, freelancers can use the extra time to study more about their passions.

Aside from the tasks you do, freelancers also have the freedom to determine their prices. They can negotiate with clients until they agree on a set price. You can also take more tasks to earn money if you are a freelancer. You simply have to sort out your schedule to juggle these tasks. As a result, many freelancers can earn as much as $10,000 per month depending on the amount of work they do.

A freelancer also has the power to determine who they would like to work for. If they cannot agree during their negotiations with the client, they can decline the project. If they like the client, they can proceed with it. This ensures that freelancers won't be abused by clients who will not pay them.

Since you control your own time and work, you have more time to do what you love and spend time with your family. Sometimes, full-time office work prevents workers from getting a work-life balance. As a result, they lose time to spend quality time with the family. If you are able to balance your job well, freelancing can help you to balance your life easily.

Do companies benefit from freelancing?

It is not just freelancers who are benefitting over this flexible form of working. Companies are also raking in on the freelancing boom because of the benefits it reaps them. Some of the most notable companies enjoying the boom in Singapore include Grab and Food Panda.

There are several major reasons which can be seen on why they are now happy to work with freelancers.

First, freelancers save companies a lot of workspace. Since space is at a premium in Singapore, companies have to downsize the number of office staff at their headquarters. As a result, they are quite stringent when it comes to applicants who wish to work at the office.

With freelancers, these workers do not have to sit in the office just to complete their tasks. All they need is a computer, internet and a scheduled time and they are ready to work. Since these workers do not work in the office, the company does not have to buy equipment for them to use. They can use the money instead to invest in the company.

The next benefit of freelancers for companies is the fact they do not have to spend a lot of money to get workers. Nowadays, they can register in online platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer.com.

Once their account is done, they can place their job advertisement, interview the applicant and sign them on. These platforms can even help companies track their work and pay the freelancer with a small fee. If they are short on staff, they can just go to these sites and find contract staff. If they did it the old fashioned way, they will have to pay a lot of money for job ads in key locations and set a time for interviews.

Finally, these companies do not need to pay extras, like insurance for freelancers. If freelancers would like to get their own insurance, they would have to do it themselves.

To be a freelancer or not to be a freelancer?

With the changing work environment in Singapore, there are merits in considering freelancing. If you are thinking of being a freelancer, look at your skillsets and the opportunities that are available. Websites like MiddleMe help freelancers to kickstart their careers. If you think you can handle the irregular hours and salary, plus the tasks open to freelancers, go for it!

Geraldine Lee
Geraldine lives out of bubbles and dreams. When she’s not writing, she reads about kids and parenting matters. Her works have been featured on Singapore’s Child, theAsianParent and now, even yodaa.