Freelancing, or contingent work, has become a popular trend around the world and is an attractive career option for young people. Freelancers are independent contractors who offer their services on a temporary basis, usually to business and sometimes to multiple clients at a time. As they are not committed to a long term employer, freelancers have greater flexibility in selecting clients, jobs, work hours, and job location.
PayPal’s “Global Freelancer Survey” polled 11,324 freelancers across 22 markets worldwide, of which 1,602 were from Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The results revealed the extent to which digital platforms offer an easy and convenient mechanism for freelancers to receive payments, access new assignments, and find employment opportunities. With their range of benefits, experts predict that online job platforms for freelancers in the Southeast Asian region will keep growing in the future.
Among the four Southeast Asian nations surveyed, Vietnam takes the lead for job satisfaction, with a rate of 91% among freelancers who are aiming to continue such work in the future.
The survey also shows that steady jobs and sustainable business activities are the main worry for freelancers in the region. More than 40% of those surveyed say an unstable income is their primary concern. Online employment platforms have become popular in the Southeast Asian region as they offer regularly updated career opportunities and new projects for freelancers.
Of those polled in the four Southeast Asian markets, 80%have used online freelancer platforms. The study finds that freelancers who work with international clients are more likely to use such websites than those with a focus closer to home. Domestic freelance jobs are mostly sought through other channels such as oral transmission (48% in Singapore), online job boards (49% in Indonesia), and social networks (58% in Vietnam). Meanwhile, in the Philippines, 58% of the freelancer community find work through online platforms.
Online employment portals can provide businesses and freelancers with new and useful features by screening job categories, selecting online payment methods, or resolving disputes. These platforms are helping to create a network of highly skilled talents and provide them with exclusive access to a range of top quality clients. As both sides have been screened to evaluate their particular skills and strengths, the chances of finding a successful business relationship are greatly improved.
Yiwen Chan, co-founder of Content.co – an online employment platform which connects businesses to a selection of skilled freelancers in marketing, editorial and specialist fields- says the new features of online services have helped freelancers to build trust with leading businesses and find work to suit their preferences and abilities. In addition, the services can eliminate issues of traditional online job boards and create provide favourable conditions for freelancers to focus on getting to work.
From the results of the survey, more than 73% of users say they will use online employment platforms more often in future. Freelancers say the use of such platforms can help them access a foreign client base, like the US, while providing better support and secure payment methods. Apart from connecting freelancers to clients, online employment portals can protect the rights of freelancers in possible disputes with clients such as salary payment issues.
Rahul Shinghal, CEO of PayPal in the Southeast Asian region says that more and more young people are choosing to take on freelance work as they prefer the greater autonomy and flexibility to the strict hours of office jobs with repetitive timetables. Freelancers should be recognised and respected as professionals who can play an important role in the global economy, says Mr Shinghal.