If you’ve been a freelancer for some time, how do you feel about your choice now? Happy and optimistic, or regretful, pessimistic and stressed?
According to a recent survey by audit giant Deloitte, the majority of ex-freelancers across the pond feel the freelance life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be – and wouldn’t try it again.
Been There, Done That – But Wouldn’t Again
The online poll of 4,000 American workers found that 67% of respondents who had previously worked as independent contractors wouldn’t choose to do so again in the future, and only 48% were very satisfied with their freelancing experience. 56% said the most important benefit of full-time employment is the steady income, perhaps indicating that this was an area of self-employment they found difficult.
Nearly half of the former independent contractors also felt that it had been hard to connect to company culture, and that this would discourage them from working independently in the future.
Stability versus Sacrifice
Most of the employees surveyed weren’t tempted to try freelancing. 60% of employees said that they were worried about the loss of stability they felt would result if they became independent contractors, 44% felt they would be unable to connect to a company’s internal culture and 42% were concerned about sacrificing the compensation and benefits that can come with employment.
Although 41% of respondents said they realised and appreciated that becoming an independent contractor would offer them far more work flexibility than most employed positions, many said that concerns over losing a steady income and benefits supplied by their employer were the main factors dissuading them from trying self-employment.
Attracting Freelance Talent
Despite these findings, 34% of those surveyed said they would consider working independently. While women were more likely to recognise and appreciate the flexibility of contract work, with 46% of women respondents identifying the ability to attend to personal needs as an advantage, it was men who were more likely to work as independent contractors (42% percent of men versus 27% percent of women), and a slightly higher number of men than women reported more satisfaction with their experience of working independently (50% versus 45% of women).
So how can companies attract independent contractors – and convince them that it’s the right move?
Perhaps by addressing not just concerns about financial stability, but also those about company culture and connection. Nearly half of those surveyed said that a company’s culture is “extremely important” in choosing where they want to work, including 53% of millennials and 50% of Generation X respondents. Interestingly, only 40% of baby boomers felt this strongly about company culture.
“In order to achieve business goals, organizations should look to attract all talent pools. Organizations should start thinking about the culture they have in place and the experiences they can design for contingent workers,” said Mike Preston, chief talent officer at Deloitte LLP. “Today’s workforce wants the ability to choose how they work—full-time or contract work. Regardless of what they choose, they crave a holistic experience that combines good compensation and benefits with a focus on well-being and career development.”