What is the future of work for freelancers and the self-employed in the post-covid world? There couldn’t be a greater level of uncertainty surrounding this than there is now. And for many self-employed workers, freelancers and companies, this means their livelihoods are at stake.
It’s difficult to predict when we’ll have a clearer picture of their future. However, freelancers are fundamental for German business. They’re accelerators for transformation, vital for new start-ups, and also help businesses when they’re struggling to fill gaps in personnel. Yet they face a series of stumbling blocks including: fear of bogus self-employment, compulsory statutory pension insurance, and other regulatory hurdles.
For many self-employed workers, freelancers and companies their livelihoods are very much at stake.
That said, for many, a career as a freelancer offers more advantages than disadvantages – they wouldn’t want to give up their self-determination, or the flexibility and independence it offers, under any circumstances! This trend is growing, especially given the increase in remote-working brought about by the health crisis. The idea of having to choose between your dream job and your preferred place of residence has become a thing of the past.
So, why does freelancing remain so attractive despite the pandemic – and what should freelancers watch out for now?
Self-employment is still seen as the “little sister” of permanent employment – which is why we urgently need a campaign to change the image of self-employment.
In our current ‘How Germany Works’ research series focusing on freelancers, we found that almost one in four freelancers (23%) encounter clients who cannot adequately distinguish between full-time staff and freelancers. These uncertainties hit freelancers in the STEM sector particularly hard: 25% of IT and 31% of engineering freelancers have already lost contracts because their clients was afraid of bogus self-employment. This is something no freelancer can afford in such difficult economic times.
Freelancing despite the Covid-19 pandemic
When you take a closer look at the motives for freelancing, it’s clear flexibility and self-determination are among the decisive motivators. The pandemic, digitalisation, and automation have all intensified the trend towards new working models and made agility a central issue for businesses. Freelancers can come in and act as agility drivers to react faster to problems and the needs of companies. This is able to happen because working freelance means being your own boss and enjoying flexibility – therefore make sure you’re aware of your value.
Even before the current health crisis, the demand for digitalisation experts in Germany couldn’t be fully met. This has only increased during the pandemic in certain areas of the country. According to the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BitKom), there have been 86,000 vacancies for IT experts across all sectors since the end of 2020. IT freelancers can therefore look forward to an increase in demand from the second half of 2021.
Freelancers can come in and act as agility drivers to react faster to problems and the needs of companies.
Nevertheless, despite the rosy outlook for IT freelancers, we shouldn’t ignore the immense challenges that come with self-employment. Finding assignments can be difficult, a lot of time and energy goes into tendering and ultimately there are hidden costs when unsuccessful. To avoid this, I’ve listed three “top tips” for you below.
If freelancers follow these points, they’ll be well on their way to fully exploiting the advantages of self-employment – for themselves, for companies, and for Germany as a business location.
Three top tips for freelancers
Get legally fit
The danger of bogus self-employment hovers over freelancer activities like a Sword of Damocles. More and more regulations and compliance guidelines can unsettle freelancers. It makes sense to have legal support should you require it. Many HR consultants have expertise in legal and tax imaging and can ensure a more ‘relaxed’ working life.
Manage your time effectively
Who doesn’t know this feeling? A deadline is getting close and closer – the customer is expecting a project to be completed on time – and your stress levels are rising. Almost every freelancer has experienced this scenario once and it has an effect on mental and physical health. Good time keeping and self-management help to make projects more efficient. Clearly structured working hours and breaks lay the foundation for this. In order to work to your full potential, it’s worthwhile adapting your working hours to suit you.
Focus on learning
Continuous training is even more important for freelancers than for permanent staff. Making sure you’re up-to-date in your area of expertise is a vital part of being freelance. In Germany, the education premium even allows you to receive finance support. So, invest yourself regularly.
Read more insights
Doorbreek het vooroordeel: hoe kunnen we meer vrouwen in STEM aan bod laten komen
De oprichter van Women in Tech bespreekt hoe vooroordelen tegen vrouwen in STEM-velden kunnen worden tegengegaan door de participatiegraa...
Hoe kunnen bedrijven zin geven aan hun werknemers
De volgende Work in Progress-documentaire gaat over de zin van werk en hoe bedrijven zin kunnen geven aan het werk dat ze doen.
Bouwen aan een divers personeelsbestand in de regio Azië-Pacific
Onze klant in de financiële dienstverlening helpen bij het in kaart brengen van de markt en het werven van kandidaten met diverse achterg...
Being a climate conscious business
How climate change is affecting our business and the STEM markets we operate in with independent sustainability consultancy Avieco.
Onze collega's in staat stellen het milieu te helpen
Iedereen bij SThree krijgt 40 betaalde vrijwilligersuren per jaar. Lees hoe onze teams over de hele wereld het milieu helpen.
Providing access to medical testing through mobile and logistics technology
This health tech start-up uses mobile and logistics technology to provide access to medical testing, including COVID-19 in rural Nigeria.
Improving mobility and quality of life through 3D printed prosthetics
Improving mobility and quality of life through 3D printed prosthetics
Digitising water utility operations to reduce water shortages in Africa
How the WayPoints team developed software that brings water utility operations in Africa into the 21st century.
Tackling bacterial diseases in agriculture and beyond
The Uniphage team are hoping their innovative STEM business concept will create platform technology to cure bacterial diseases in agricul...
Alleviating single-use plastic in the fast food sector
A team of students from India developed sustainable food packaging to reduce the amount of plastic packaging being produced
What if you could turn single-use face masks into clean energy?
Living Energy are hoping their innovative STEM business concept will turn our global single-use plastic problem into a clean energy source.
Transforming the construction market with a low-carbon alternative
A team of young entrepreneurs from India have developed a low-carbon alternative that could transform the global construction market.
Who knew cows loved the salty taste of seaweed?
Based in the UK, a team of students have developed a cow feed that uses seaweed to reduce the amount of methane entering the atmosphere
How expertise in niche fields kept a US wind farm construction project on track
Global renewable energy construction company benefits from key hires with specialist skills in wind turbines.
Het is nu tijd om de toekomst van werk een nieuwe impuls te geven
We hebben samengewerkt met Samuel Durand aan een nieuwe documentaire over de toekomst van werk
Challenging gender bias and inequality to build a more inclusive future
If you can’t get a seat at the table, create your own table. Sunny Ackerman, President of SThree Americas, discusses this years IWD theme.
The future of the workplace is now
Experts discuss the future of work and what it means for the fourth industrial revolution.
Maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen bij recruitment
Hoofd CSR Gemma Branney bespreekt het belang van ethisch inkopen in de recruitmentindustrie