Freelance Forward 2021

The freelance economy has survived the worst of the pandemic, with its already established remote working and flexible model. More and more young professionals are leaning towards a freelance career as organisations across the world adopt a more agile working model with a distributed workforce. What lies ahead for freelancers in 2021?



ith the pandemic entering its third wave across the world, increasing worries about the future of work are forcing people to rethink their careers. Remote work, coupled with the changes that were already taking place due to the rapid expansion of automation across industries, have given rise to new ways of working.

Millions across the world are moving towards a career in freelance, in order to have greater control of their income. According to a research done by Upwork, one of the biggest platforms for freelancers and independent workers, 89% of freelancers want to continue freelancing in the future because “working remotely has made me a more productive worker.”

Let’s take a step back and look at how the freelance economy has evolved in the last one year.

Freelancers have found it easier to get through the pandemic and are likely to fare better than people with traditional jobs. One of the biggest factors contributing to the mental health of freelance, has been the fact that they were already accustomed to remote work, so the pandemic didn’t force them to change their habits. Most freelancers have reported that they had more than adequate work over the last year, and don’t foresee a dip in future demand. These include freelancers working in marketing, creative/design, writing, software development, engineering, etc.

New freelance opportunities have come up in architecture & engineering, finance and business operations, computers & mathematics and even production & manufacturing. While the millennial and baby boomer groups continue to form a large percentage of freelancers, most new freelancers in 2020 were members of Gen Z, and chose to start freelancing immediately after finishing their studies.

59% of Gen Z freelancers felt that they made more money as a freelancer than they’d be making from a traditional employer, and 72% were sure that their income will increase in 2021.

There was a huge jump in income for diversified workers, i.e. freelancers who take different kinds of jobs, and have a mixed income. As diversified workers, they have a wider portfolio of skills, allowing them pitch for different projects and scale their business.

Given the highly volatile nature of work in the post-COVID world, constant skill updating and training is a must for everyone, especially freelancers.

Soft skills like communication and people work are highly valued among most freelancers, but 47% also feel that business skills are also important to succeed in freelance.

Adaptiv is organising Freelance Forward 2021, a series of workshops to equip new freelancers with the key skills required to survive in the post-COVID world. Watch this space for more details.

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Freelance Forward 2021 is a workshop to help aspiring freelancers and solopreneurs acquire the essential soft skills and digital skills required to kick-start their career in the new economy.

Geetanjali Shrivastava


Freelance Forward 2021

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