One of the most common sights that has appeared on LinkedIn over the past year has been people sharing articles and writing updates about an increasingly flexible approach to professional life.
The traditional corporate style that defined much of the 20th century has begun to give way to modern philosophies which seek to redress the problem of striking a good work-life balance.
Digital-centric companies have been a pioneer in this area and it comes as no surprise that a growing amount of people are looking for greater flexibility when it comes to nailing down a contract.
As a recruiter specialising in placing freelancers and consultants that work in UX design, I have seen an increasing number of professionals opting for a more flexible style of working. I therefore wanted to take the time to define the three main reasons that people cite when choosing to go down the freelance consultancy route.
1. The money can be substantially better.
One of the key reasons that people often opt for consultancy work is that the daily rates are unmatched and that with enough demand for your services, there is great potential to have a vastly increased annual income.
In a recent 2017 salary survey by Conversion Talent, we found that the average daily rate for people working in the field of UX was between €500-700. When compared with the average monthly salary in the same field for a permanent position of €3104 and it is clear that there is a strong economic incentive to pick this route.
A concern for many people is that becoming a freelance consultant is an unstable source of income in comparison with a permanent contract. Of course I would agree that a permanent contact is naturally much more stable but I would argue that this does not need to be worried about. In my experience in this type of recruitment, I have seen the vast majority of my candidates have an almost constant stream of work due to two important factors.
Firstly, UX designers are in high demand amongst top companies that have realised that it is a truly valuable strategy to invest in. This is also true for a host of other digital disciplines that continue to go from strength to strength. Secondly, candidates have been able to build up an excellent reputation due to doing an outstanding job on their first few projects as a freelancer meaning that they come highly recommended. Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of promotion in the jobs market. These two aspects combined mean that many freelancers are able to take on as much or as little work as they want depending on their priorities at that point in time.
2. Striking the work-life balance.
For many professionals, balancing a full-time job with other more personal duties can be incredibly tough. Becoming a freelance consultant can help to tackle such issues and lead to a happier, more fulfilling balance between being able to pursue career goals whilst at the same time having the opportunity to spend with family and friends.
This feature appeals to a wide range of people from those with young kids that need more looking after to those that simply do not want to be pinned down by the constraints of a more traditional form of contract. Flexible working conditions are becoming an increasingly common feature of the modern market which is why we will most likely continue to see more people shifting over to the freelance side.
What defines a good work-life balance really depends on the individual. Many people will find comfort in a permanent contract with a far more structured calendar but for those that seek to have more freedom, freelance could be the answer.
3. Feeding your curiosity
In the modern world, we are more exposed to information and new opportunities than ever before which means that naturally we are curious to explore different avenues, making the most of the chances that present themselves. For many of the freelance consultants that I work with, the chance to tackle different projects across multiple industries is very enticing. It is an invaluable way to test and improve your skills whilst at the same time gaining a holistic knowledge of the work that is being done in the field as a whole.
For people who do not want to dedicate themselves to one specific sector, freelance is an excellent choice. There are a host of different options from short and medium to more longterm contracts allowing people to have a degree of choice in the time that they dedicate to a certain area.
The most important thing for any candidate that I work with is finding the solutions to make them happy and meet their requirements. I would not say that freelance is for everyone as there will always be those who desire a more concrete form of income but it can be the perfect solution for those seeking a refreshing new direction.
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