Gig economy is on the rise, as recent article compiled by Singapore Business Review reported that more and more Singaporeans are ditching stable jobs to pursue a career in freelance job. According to the report, flexibility, freedom, and wider financial control are amongst cited reasons behind Singapore’s decision to join the gig economy.
Yukiko Lim, 41, was among those who left their high-paying and stable jobs. Ms Lim ditched her 11-year career as a finance and HR manager for freelance make-up services and go freelancing. Meanwhile, Mimi Liu, 31, decided to work freelance despite having a significant career in Business Training. Ms Liu said she wants to pursue her passion for arts and crafts. Both of them decided to leave their hefty paying jobs for freelancing, where they earn about $4,500-$5,000 per month.
Regarding to her decision, Ms Liu said that being a freelancer gives her freedom to work on her own props and flexibility to make improvement at any time that she wants. Meanwhile, people with full-time job often tend confine their research and interest to the working hours, she added.
Not only permanent and experienced professionals, even Millennials and fresh graduates are enticed by the charm of gig economy. Ng See Min, 22, chose to become a freelance henna body artists upon graduating from school. Saying that she does not like the traditional 9 to 5 work arrangement, Ms Min is attracted to the flexibility offered by the gig arrangement.
She also added that among the greatest perks of freelancing is having your own control on when to work and play, and thus offering a kind of spontaneity – something that traditional time-structured employment cannot have. Ms Min also brushed off worries that the freelance arrangement will not be able to consistently provide for her financial needs, as she is confident that the job can be a sustainable career if she puts the right amount of effort into it.
The latest statistics suggested that there is growing number of Singapore’s workforce joining the freelance economy. Chua Hak Bin, analyst at Maybank Kim Eng, said that according to official statistics, there are about 180,000 freelancers categorised as own-account workers, making up 8.3 percent of the labour force in 2016.
He reckoned that the rising gig economy might have contributed in reducing the negative impact of the downturn in the job market. Those who are affected by retrenchments or unemployment are turning to freelance jobs for some supplementary income while looking for full-time job.
According to the data compiled by Maybank Kim Eng, Millennials make up for a growing proportion of Singaporeans who are entering the gig economy. About 47 percent ITE and 35 percent polytechnic graduates opted for part-time/temporary/freelance jobs in 2016, more than double the percentage from a decade ago.