According to the „Bundesverband der Freien Berufe e.V.“, the number of self-employed freelancers has increased by 1.8 percent to a total of 1.4 million within one year. The strongest growth happened in the technical and scientific professions, to a number of about 271,000 freelancers – an increase of 3.8%.
Trend 1: Shortage of skilled workers – number of freelancers increasing
Companies, whether as service providers, in automotive, public administration, manufacturing or energy sectors, are experiencing a shortage of skilled experts and are therefore dependent on freelancing IT professionals. Studies show that in the future companies will increasingly employ freelancers as surrogates of permanent employees. The specialized expertise of freelancers is one of their strongest arguments. The high demand will secure their position as freelancers in the future.
Trend 2: Recruitment & project identification via freelancer platforms
The redistribution from employees to freelancers will increase through platforms such as freelance.de. The Oxford Internet Institute published its research report, where they wrote that last year, the number of projects advertised on online platforms rose by 26%, especially in the area of IT development.
For companies, this type of recruitment offers a high degree of flexibility. They find freelancers at the very moment they need them. Even though, there is no long-term cost factor that could become critical if, for example, the order situation deteriorates.
Searching via freelancer platforms is easy and fast for companies. There is a wide selection of freelancers, and only in rare cases do costs arise through intermediary recruitment agencies. Overall, companies are becoming more agile with their recruiting. This factor will become even more important in times of digitalization.
The same points also apply to freelancers: Access to projects is made easy via Internet platforms. Finding suitable projects is faster, with long-term relationships and contact building included.
Trend 3: Flexibility
Being flexibel is an important advantage. Both in terms of recruitment and in terms of working hours and organisasing those. In many industries and companies, this topic has been brought into focus in recent years, with the key word being agility. 9-to-5 working hours do not fit everyone, and dynamic framework conditions increase satisfaction – and thus performance.
Freelancers are already one step ahead here. In many projects they can divide their work freely – as long as the work is completed within the deadline. In a survey by freelance.de, two thirds the freelancers states that their flexible work hours are the main reason for their position as freelancers.
Trend 4: Expertise remains crucial
Project providers are looking for experts. Due to their work
in different projects and with different clients, freelancers often have more
routine in familiarizing themselves with new topics and working with unknown
teams. Therefore, it is even more important for the project providers that
these empirical values are forwarded in the form of references.
Qualifications of freelancers will become more relevant.
Based on gender equality issues, references provide more neutral and more important conclusions about the quality of a freelancers’ work.
Trend 5: Collaboration is key
Although freelancers are often equated with lone fighters, the trend is quite different: Networking and teamwork are becoming more and more important. Since digitalization removes all boundaries of cooperation (also in international and cultural areas), so-called social collaboration in mixed teams is becoming more and more the standard. In addition to this type of teamwork, freelancers also take on large project assignments for which they are responsible. They put together their own teams from other freelancers and coordinate and organize the entire process. However, it is not only the collaboration on a project that is becoming more important for freelancers. The classic home office is also being swapped by some for a more bustling environment: shared offices and coworking spaces are a big trend.
Trend 6: Self-determination and changing values
This trend towards a new type of collaboration is certainly linked to a new generation. Generation Y has arrived in the working world and is striving for new values: They want to make their hobby their profession, bring self-determination, strive for self-fulfilment, demand enjoyment of work and flat hierarchies – income has to take a back seat. All these requirements can be implemented as freelancers. Another reason why the number of freelancers will continue to rise in the future.
Trend 7: Rising hourly rates
Due to the high demand for freelancers, hourly rates will keep rising. This is especially true for the section IT and development. In other industries, different distributions apply. Depending on their qualifications, freelancers quote very different hourly rates. There is no fixed hourly rate for a particular expert.
It is worthwhile for companies to compare the range of freelancers instead of assigning at the very first opportunity. In addition, it is worth taking a close look: the first step is to identify a technically suitable expert through a large selection. Via Internet platforms such as freelance.de, the comparison and selection can take place within a few minutes.