As we settle firmly into the new decade, much of the discussion around freelance working has been around IR35 and the reform review that is currently being undertaken by the Treasury. Despite this, there are many reasons to be optimistic about freelance working and its future this decade.
Since the economic crisis in 2008, the freelance economy has grown as workers were forced to think about different ways to finance their lives. This shift has inspired a generation to opt to work independently, with more people thinking about how to avoid long working hours, creating different streams of income and achieving a better work-life balance.
Metropolitan cities have become vital in the growth of the gig economy, with Paris and New York becoming global hubs of freelancing. London, for example, has thousands of start-ups and creative projects in a relatively condensed space. These require different skills, time commitments and projects to the traditional 9-5, creating a new economy of highly skilled freelancers. With the rise of co-working spaces, it has never been easier for project or flexible workers to move between businesses and assignments.
According to Upwork and Freelancing Union, over half of all millennials would consider moving abroad for work opportunities, and an increasing amount are starting their own business ventures. As these metropolitan cities across the world continue to develop with co-working spaces, hubs of start-ups and greater internet connectivity to meet virtually, this allows individuals from all over the world to collaborate on projects from all four corners of the globe, making the most of global talent. With possibilities of owning a home becoming increasingly difficult in the world’s cities and rent prices soaring, both Millennials and Generation Z’s who are entering the workplace this decade are changing how work works for them.
Despite some fear-mongering from some sectors about the impact of IR35 in the UK, there is a cultural shift happening in young people who want to change employment for them. Because of this and the infrastructural landscape changing in large cities, freelance opportunities are only set to increase and as companies adapt to the new changes, similar to GDPR, employing flexible working will continue to contribute significantly to the economy.
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