Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Freelancing can be great. But when isn’t it?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
June 9, 2023

In the fast-paced world of remote work and outsourced projects, understanding the perspectives of both freelancers and employers is vital to obtaining work and strengthening professional relationships. To shed more light on the matter, Skynova surveyed over 1,190 freelancers and more than 400 of their clients.

Why do freelancers choose to freelance, and how do they manage client relationships? What are employers looking for when hiring freelancers? What are the biggest red flags for freelancers and employers? Read on to find out.

In the eyes of the freelancer

The freelance lifestyle

Freelance work offers more flexibility than the average 9-to-5, which is why 65% of freelancers chose the self-scheduled career style. Almost half of those surveyed (44%) were full-time freelancers, with an average workload of three active clients. This overlapping of clients allowed freelancers to pay their bills and increase their savings. As for the current freelancer market, most freelancers had a great start to 2023: 76% retained all of their clients over the past six months, and 84% reported no trouble finding work in the wake of ChatGPT.

Relationships are everything

Freelance work relies on excellent client relationships. Even though most freelancers weren’t losing clients this year, not all of their working relationships were great. Fortunately, of the 33% of freelancers who had poor relationships with clients, all were able to make amends and secure long-term partnerships.

Employer do’s and don’ts

For the best chance at long-term success, there are a few things freelancers look for when taking on new clients. Over half said having clients ask for free work or not pay on time were the biggest red flags. On the other hand, freelancers felt positive about a client when they communicated well, respected the freelancer’s time, and made on-time payments.

In the eyes of the employer

The talent pool

Employers have a lot of options when assigning work, but using freelancers offers flexibility and grants them access to specialists in areas they’re less familiar with. With that in mind, 39% of employers expected to increase their use of freelancers over the next few months, while 55% planned to keep their current freelance load. Small business owners were particularly eager to onboard more freelancers, as 49% planned to do so in the next three months. Furthermore, 4 in 5 employers said ChatGPT had not caused a decrease in their use of freelancers. 

Freelancer do’s and don’ts

When searching for new freelancers, 70% of employers wanted someone with good communication, 58% needed flexibility, and 55% looked for a high-quality work portfolio. Conversely, employers put up red flags when freelancers missed deadlines or asked to get paid early.

Finding common ground

With the U.S. freelancer economy expected to continue its growth, freelancers and employers will likely have plenty of opportunities to collaborate. To achieve fruitful working relationships, both parties need to communicate openly and value each other’s time. Employers can demonstrate these qualities by paying on time and never asking for free work, while freelancers can do so by being flexible and sticking to deadlines. As freelancers and employers work together respectfully, both can reap the rewards of a successful professional partnership.

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