Surge Of Freelancers From The Pandemic


May 21, 2021
3 mins read

The demand for freelancers is certain in the future and the recent pandemic has sped up the embracement of gig culture.  Since the COVID-19 crisis, more companies are likely to hire independent professionals according to a new study by the giant freelance platform, Upwork.

The overdrive by the pandemic has accelerated a big shift of hiring transformation and converted millions into convenient virtual workers globally.  There is a burst in demand for freelancers to support ecommerce development as well as online customer services. In the United States alone, about 2 million people started freelancing in 2020 according to a new survey from Upwork and this is a big jump of proportion in the workforce.   Companies are discovering more talented and highly-skilled freelancers to empower them to scale up and down their manpower so as to prevent their teams from burning out during peak periods.   Last year was the beginning of the new normal and a breakout year for the gig industry to work for evolved business models with cost efficiency.

Before the arrival of COVID-19, the gig economy work has enjoyed its existence in Singapore for some years too, especially for people who are looking for other ways to supplement their income and testing their entrepreneurship.  With some business closures in this country, affected ones have turned to freelance work while waiting for permanent employment or at least, get an alternative stream of income particularly for those with part-time job offers.

According to MOM’s Comprehensive Labour Force Survey 2020, the scale of self-employed persons increased from 13.5% of the local workforce in June 2019 to 14.7% in June 2020.  On the other hand, Trading Economics also estimated that self-employed persons comprised 14.02% of Singapore’s total employment population in 2020 alone.

Having this statistic reported, some may say that the gig economy is a pure waste of talent because these professionals could have full-time jobs with skills ladders they can climb instead. But then again, there is no right or wrong because seeking jobs is also about matching expectations and to some, may be a dream job desired by others who prefer flexibility in work-life balance.  More time could be spent on their kids or elderly parents without wasting a dime on day care or elderly support respectively.

All I can say is, the job market is an ecosystem that provides numerous ways for freelancers and corporations to work together. So let the workforce determine the need for the gig workers in this pandemic. I believe in these rapid changing times, people could have the flexibility of moving back & forth between the gig and traditional economy whichever that suits.