“What if it was possible to earn at your own time?” This was the overarching question and theme for an event organized by the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) last Thursday (19 Sep). It aimed to inform existing professionals of the benefits of the freelance work model, and the various opportunities it offered them.
The event attracted around 70 professionals from various industries, of which most were seeking answers about freelancing and work opportunities. Designed as a lecture + networking format, Industry experts from 12 participating companies, including IoTalents’s very own Sei Wee (CEO) were present to speak on freelancing and gave attendees some key takeaways on the benefits, upsides, opportunities, and skills required to become a freelancer in today’s economic climate.
Over the course of eight hours, a wealth of knowledge was shared by participating companies and their respective speakers. In between speakers, attendees were given free rein to visit the various company booths to find out more about the power of freelancing and for possible work opportunities.
Sei Wee and I were onsite at the event to soak up the knowledge offered and to share what we do and know with attendees. The learning went both ways as many of the attendees came up to our booth to have a chat with us about their thoughts on the freelancing economy and what the future holds for them as employees. We learned many valuable insights just by listening to them speak!
In the afternoon, Sei Wee gave an educational and thought-provoking presentation on the most sought-after IT skills in the freelancing space and about freelancing in general. This was an important and relatable topic of discussion for many of the professionals in attendance.
Here are some key takeaways from Sei Wee’s speech:
- The freelance economy is growing bigger year-on-year, and there are several drivers behind this. More competitive costs, access to specialized skills, nimbleness and the ability to extend the base of service providers are some reasons why firms are increasingly turning to freelancers for their business needs.
- About 61% of local firms plan to change their workforce activities to prepare to hire more freelance workers now or over the next three years. Over the next 3 years, Singapore expects a larger growth in share of contingent workers at 59%, compared to 29% regionally. Freelancing opportunities are more than ever available in Singapore!
- The demand for Infocomm manpower is steadily increasing year-on-year. Of this demand, technical IT specialists who possess the skills required for IT Development (48%), Network & Infrastructure (16%) are the most sought-after. For freelancers, this means that web development, app development, UX/UI design and SEO/SEM skills are the most valuable.
- Freelancers do what they do because they love and are energized by their work, and they want to build partnerships and score future jobs. However, freelancers are not free, and the lack of income security and benefits that come with a full-time job are a very real concern. Hence, employers should attract freelancers with a fair, long-term partnership mindset. An environment based on mutual trust and understanding must be built up.
- Before engaging freelancers, employers should do the following: 1) Have a sound budget in mind 2) Scope the work required 3) Screen and evaluate the freelancer 4) If all is good, prepare the contract.
- To succeed as a freelancer, one must have a business mindset and perspective. This includes marketing yourself and your skillsets well. A solid personal brand and portfolio are critical to attracting work opportunities, so freelancers should always be working to improve themselves and their skills in order to deliver better work for their clients.
This being my first event with IoTalents, I was glad that I was in the presence of so many seasoned and passionate industry veterans who were very eager to share their thoughts and experiences with us.
This was not just limited to the speakers – the many professionals who visited our company booth were equally great to learn from and interact with as well. In a sense, it was bi-directional learning; we didn’t just share we knew, but we also listened and absorbed the information that was being presented at the event.
By attending this event, we gained a deeper understanding of the freelance economy. With the growth in demand for freelancers that we are experiencing, freelancing is now becoming a more viable career choice for many. With the freelance trend on the rise, many great opportunities lie ahead for employers and freelancers alike!