We’ve partnered with Freelancing Gems to share this new content series on opportunities for women (and employers) in rethinking traditional work structures.
Employers are scrambling for talent right now, with employees across Australia rethinking their careers, work-life balance, and what they want their future careers to look like.
During the past 12 months one in five Australians have quit their job, and another quarter are considering changing jobs, according to recent research from NAB. The top reason cited by employees for leaving was a lack of personal fulfilment, purpose or meaning at work, followed by a lack of opportunity for career growth.
As we ride through the uncertainty of the pandemic, it’s easy to see why so many people are swapping their careers as full-time employees for the freelancing life. In many cases, freelancers have more opportunity to create their own work schedule, taking on as few or as many clients as they need too.
Fleur Madden, co-founder and CEO of Freelancing Gems, Australia’s only jobs platform and community for female freelancers that matches consultants and sole traders with Australian employers, says the current talent market means there are endless opportunities for freelancers to fill talent gaps for employers.
And it’s creating more demand for the unique skills freelancers can bring to the table, a phenomenon she’s seeing in the Freelancing Gems community.
“As the ‘great resignation’ sweeps across the world, there has been a drastic reduction in people seeking full-time roles, leaving a massive talent shortage globally,” Madden explains. “And they aren’t swapping one full-time role for another, they are leaving full-time with the intention of not going back.”
“While employers are looking to fill these roles quickly, there has been a boost to the gig economy with freelancers more in demand than ever before.
“With employers embracing the ways of the new world, there are awesome job opportunities arising for freelancers, that are about bringing in experts for shorter periods on projects that may not have been available in the past.”
One employer who hasn’t been afraid to make the most of what freelancers can offer is Rochelle Courtenay, founder and CEO of national women’s charity, Share the Dignity.
In the last 12 months, Courtenay has worked with Freelancing Gems to bring sixteen freelancers on board and creating a new division of the charity called Dress for Dignity, an online fashion marketplace for pre-loved clothes, where all proceeds go back directed to the charity.
“Naturally Freelancing Gems were our first point of contact as they are a big supporter of ours and we believe in building strong connections with our community and their values aligned so strongly with ours,” Courtenay tells Women’s Agenda.
“We were able to create this power team of unique and skilled individuals who all had a seat at the table when it came to creating this project. It also allowed us to minimise risk as a business when we are unsure about firstly exactly what roles we would need once we launch and secondly, how the market was looking in the midst of a pandemic.
“Having skilled freelancers work on specific chunks of the projects with a clear start and finish made this easy to manage in terms of expectations, deliverables and minimised the time needing to be spent with each of these individuals.”
Looking forward, Courtenay says there will always be a place for permanent employees at Share the Dignity, which currently has fifteen permanent staff, but there will also be plenty of opportunity for freelancers to bring in their expertise.
“Using this freelancing model has definitely opened our eyes to how we could do things a little differently,” Courtenay says.
“There will always be the need for key staff for key projects. But where we see ourselves heading as a charity is finding opportunities for freelancers to assist with tasks such as developing strategic plans, communications journeys in line with our teams and then passing these over for our teams to run with them.”
Leading Breast, Melanoma and General surgeon Dr Heidi Peverill has also made the decision to bring freelancers into her medical practice, to help build out the branding of the business, as well as its social media strategy and management.
“I’ve used freelancers to help me with areas I have no expertise in,” Dr Peverill shares. “In a medical practice, in the day to day, there’s a lot of administration and organisation, as well as managing immediate needs and medical problems in front of me. But there’s a missing piece and it’s communication.”
“Ultimately my job is all about helping people understand their health so they can have better health outcomes for themselves. I realised that there are so many ways to communicate, I wanted to be able to reach more people, in a way that suits them.”
Dr Peverill describes how great it was to be able to access the specific skills of an experienced freelancer. She said the advice provided by the freelancer and their approach to branding and social media was invaluable. She was also pleased to be able to support someone who was pursing the freelancing life.
“I want women to be able to live the life they choose, be able to demonstrate their skills and be paid their worth,” she says.
“It doesn’t have to mean 60 hours a week in a corporation that removes their autonomy or staying at home with children – it can be the life they build for themselves, where they’re rewarded fairly for good work.”
Fleur Madden says it’s time for employers to embrace freelancers for the opportunity they can bring to businesses. It’s something she’s seen take shape successfully time and again through Freelancing Gems.
“For some employers, there used to be a misconception that if you brought in a freelancer they were more expensive, they wouldn’t become part of the team, they wouldn’t be entrenched in your ways. That old way of thinking just isn’t the reality,” Madden says. “In 2022, freelance roles are a gift for both sides of the marketplace.”
“Freelance roles allow employers to tap into diverse talent, rethinking the way they approach recruitment. It isn’t about the best person in a specific location, it’s actually just about the best person full stop.”
Freelancing Gems is a digital jobs platform that helps women redefine their 9 to 5 and find their next meaningful role. They match Australian employers with rare gems of female talent across a range of industries.