A Global Online Employment Report 2013[i] analyzed in an article, written by a marketing consultant[ii], ascertained that the creative freelance assignments and those in the IT/programming space were ranked 1 and 2 respectively forming 40% and 39% of the projects posted in the last year. Within the global creative economy, the demand for jobs belonging to domains such as writing, graphic design, video production and photography have all seen an 80%+ increase globally as compared to the previous year.
In Flexing It’s 'Decoding India's freelancers'[iii]survey too we discovered that the creative space was the second largest segment of freelancers/independent professionals with the desire to do interesting work and build a strong portfolio, cited as the top reasons for taking on project-based work. In this piece, we highlight some patterns we are seeing in the demand and supply of such skills in India.
Demand for creative freelancers across companies of different types
Based on the assignments we see posted on Flexing It, large companies and start-ups alike are looking for diverse roles to be filled with quality, creative professionals. Topping the charts are projects that need experience with digital and social media marketing, knowledge of developing and executing content strategies, and quality design skills to develop websites, logos and other brand/marketing collateral. It is important to understand that companies, however traditional their products and services may be, need creative people to promote, market and present these especially on new media/channels and this is opening up a wide range of roles for the creative freelancer. Whether it is a non-profit or a start-up, an updated and fully functional, presentable and well-designed website is a must, as is the clarity in the messages it is trying to convey.
Creating a stronger, more diverse portfolio of work
The main reasons for creative individuals for opting for freelancing assignments is to gain more control over their schedule, a belief that this works better for their career objectives, and finally, that freelancing provided them the ability to leverage their skills /relationships and be self-employed. Many professionals also stated that freelancing gives them the space to pursue their passions and creative energies. All in all, the need for creative people to have flexible work timings and space to create from scratch becomes essential, a situation which freelancing offers readily and in abundance.
Taking on freelance assignments can also help professionals build out their skills, and in fact is one of the reasons why many individuals may opt to take on assignments over and above their regular jobs which may need getting deeper and deeper into one area of specialization.
Freelancing as a way of life
It’s interesting to see that ‘creative freelancers’ typically have over a decade of experience and are equally likely to be of either gender indicating that the trend is driven by the demands and needs of the profession. Such professionals have also typically been freelancing longer – with over half that we surveyed having over 5 years of independent experience – suggesting that demand has also evolved to permit this as a way to create and work!
In conclusion, we observe that freelancing opportunities in the creative field offer a much-needed chance for an individual to explore his/her creative energies, which traditional jobs may not offer. In a society obsessed with management and IT as smart career options, creative fields are often set aside. But with smarter and more flexible timelines and the chance to choose from a variety of projects, a career in the creative field may just receive the right kind of boost that some of us are looking for. As people, we need to step out of our own mindsets and embrace our own true potential as scriptwriters, graphic designers, cartoonists, fashion consultants and many more - a space where freelancing may just be the perfect path ahead.