If you were the type of person to blindly follow statistics, you could be forgiven for thinking that freelancing was set to become the dominant method of working in Western society. This trend, which has been driven by technological advancement and additional factors such as flexible working directives, recently prompted Intuit to suggest that 40% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by the year 2020.
While freelancing is certainly an increasingly accessible method of working, however, this does not mean that traditional employment roles are any less important. In fact, the idea of employing a connected and permanent team of staff appeals to many business owners, with technology giant Google in the midst of undertaking a £1 billion project to build a new UK headquarters behind Kings Cross Station in London.
The Traditional Labour Market and the Benefits of Regular Employment over Freelancing
From the perspective of the individual, there are also a number of benefits offered by traditional roles of employment over freelancing. It is important to understand these, as this enables you to make an informed decision when forging your career path. For example: –
9-5 Jobs have a clearly defined Structure and Description
While freelancing clearly offers a degree of freedom to workers, it also demands a keen sense of responsibility and a specific mind-set. Freelancers or sole traders effectively operate as independent business ventures, meaning that they must maintain a flexible approach to working and be willing to immerse themselves in various commercial aspects including finance, accountancy and developing a viable infrastructure. This is in addition to completing the work at hand, so freelancers must have a strong work ethic and an aggressive attitude when it comes to generating income. In contrast, traditional employment opportunities enable workers to focus on their core duties and the execution of dedicated tasks, so it is ideally suited to those with a singular mind-set and a more regimented working methodology.
Consider Reduced Start-up Costs and Lower Levels of Risk
If we continue to consider freelancers as individual business entities, it stands to reason that these individuals will need to invest some capital into establishing themselves in their chosen market. This is something of a risk, as external market factors or a fundamental lack of experience can cause you to lose this money and render your venture futile. If we take the example of an electrician, for example, those who choose to work independently will need to invest heavily in gaining industry standard qualification, acquiring the necessary equipment and a reliable lease vehicle through a resource such as Select Contracts. In contrast, electricians who work for an established firm can secure regular hours and also benefit from funded, on-the-job training and a pristine company vehicle. This instantly creates a lower level of risk and enables you to start work without the need for a heavy financial investment.
Traditional Career Paths offer More Opportunities for Progression
While it may seem as though the sky is the limit for freelancers, this is only true for those who have an obvious entrepreneurial flair. The majority of sole traders find it extremely difficult to scale their activities, as this often requires them to take on additional work and ultimately expand into a traditional business that employs others without any guarantee of long-term success. For those who choose to plot a more traditional career path, however, they will benefit from a clearly defined infrastructure and a higher volume of overt opportunities for progression. This makes it far easier to develop both personally and professionally, and it is ideal for those who like to have a clear idea of where they are headed.