In the sharing economy today, Gen Y, Gen Z, and even veteran professionals are partnering with organisations to create new professional engagement models.
34% (53 million) of the US workforce were freelancing during 2014-15 and Forbes forecasts this number to increase to 50% by 2020.
The Gig Economy has marked its arrival in Singapore and continues to grow with 85% of employers expecting to increase or maintain their use of temporary/contract staff in the next 12 months as per the 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide.
In short, the where, how and for whom we work will be meaningfully changing in the coming years.
Freelancing as a preferred career track has increasingly been covered by the media but there is still a lack of reliable and credible data on the compensation of independent professionals. In this post we discuss the nitty-gritty about freelancing in Singapore.
- Does it offer a real career in terms of compensation?
- And how does it fare in comparison with other countries?
- What are key skills in demand for the new flexible worker especially among mid to senior level professionals?
Let’s take a look:
How much do they get paid?
There has been a perception that freelancers don’t get paid as much as their counterparts in full-time jobs.
Median per day rates show that contract workers earn 715 SGD on an average per day, which amounts to a healthy 15,000 SGD per month payout (assuming 21 working days in a month), which is well above the median family income for Singapore.
That being said, there is a downside that not all months might bring as much work. But if you ask freelancers, the flexibility and ownership of your career more than makes up for the lack of consistent income.
While freelancers in US and UK command higher payouts in absolute numbers, tax adjusted figures show that contract employees in Singapore command compensation, which is at par with rest of the world.
Duration of projects
One striking difference we observe in adoption of flexible working in Singapore as compared to US and UK, is that the market for shorter duration (less than 3 months) projects is very small in Singapore, while smaller gigs form majority of short term projects in the western countries.
This isn’t very surprising as there is a higher acceptance of freelancing and a greater number of opportunities that makes moving from one gig to another relatively easy.
In any case, one of the major reasons professionals opt to become freelancers is to broaden their set of experiences. My personal bet is that we will see a similar trend in Singapore and other Asian countries in the near future, as this trend catches up more and more with companies.
Top skills in demand and top industries using freelancers
We see a good mix of business skills in demand.
This clearly demonstrates that freelancing today isn’t for a select few but for the majority, who need more flexibility and control of their careers.
That being said, the demand for management consultants is abysmally low in Singapore’s short term work market, especially when compared to the US and UK markets. This means that recruiters and business managers are yet to unlock the full potential of contingent workforce.
Two out of the top 3 industries are not a surprise – the BFSI and IT industries employ the largest chunk of local talent and the same is seen even in contract hiring.
However, Healthcare industry comprising of SME equipment manufacturers as well as the new age BioTech companies also hire contract workers quite heavily.
As with skills, we see almost all major industries hiring short term managers, clearly indicating the extent of adoption of this up and coming practice of flexible hiring.
All insights are derived from FeeBee, a crowdsourced fee benchmarking tool, which helps freelancers assess optimum fee levels on a variety of parameters such as location, experience level, function and industry.