Freelancing in the Philippines: A Fad or Here to Stay?

Freelance work fad or here to stay

Landing a job on the job market is never easy. The market is ultra-competitive because usually, there are no vacancies or openings. If a job miraculously opens, someone gets hired in an instant. When COVID-19 unprecedentedly attacked, people were laid off from work and jobs became even more scarce. Despite this, this type of workforce managed to survive the negative effects of the pandemic on work — freelancing in the Philippines. 

For a while, it seemed that freelance jobs in the Philippines were reeling from the effects of COVID-19 as for the first half of 2020, the demand was dipping. 

However, as the pandemic waned on, companies began looking for more freelancers over full-time employees. From late 2020 to the present, the number of freelance jobs in the Philippines is increasing along with the number of freelance workers. Perhaps one reason to attribute this rise to is the preference of freelance workers who are well-acclimated with the remote setup. 

As of June 2021, around 1.5 million Filipinos are contributing to the gig economy. According to Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP) President Paolo Mercado, those 1.5 million Filipinos are internationally employed as freelancers engaging in mostly creative work, and even employed internationally. 

Here, freelance jobs in the Philippines are mostly web design, writing, graphic design, real estate, and photography. 

Read Also: 6 Best Side Hustles to Try at Home

Considering how people navigated through the workforce during the pandemic, these trying times may be the paradigm shift in how the workforce will look like going forward. 

Henceforth, freelancing in the Philippines will stay on the rise and is here to stay. 

1. A result of the pandemic

From the onset of COVID-19, the global economy was put on a halt and multiple companies worldwide had to lay off many of their full-time employees. Aside from this, companies also shifted to a remote setting. 

Now that those formerly full-time employees are unemployed, the need to make a living in the context of COVID-19 helped them find freelance work. 

Right now, aside from needing money, many workers love the flexibility offered by temporary gigs. As a matter of fact, global freelance platform Fiverr conducted a study wherein because of the pandemic, 68% of remote professionals prefer freelancing. 

2. Online platforms

Certainly, because of the rise of information and technology, navigating through this pandemic became less bad than it could have been. Without social media, video games — and all these online communication platforms, people would not be able to go to school at all, would have nobody to talk to, and people might literally die from boredom. 

But after more than two years of virtually threading through this pandemic, people have learned that the use of technology with work makes this a viable option going forward. 

Zoom and Google Meet have been the most used platforms for meetings and conferences. For other matters, one can always email or message another. 

That is why the Work from Home (WFH) setup of hybrid setup is being seriously considered by the Philippine government and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). 

3. Adaptability of freelancers

Online platforms will make the WFH setup or hybrid setup possible. But for freelance jobs in the Philippines, those who have been working them are already accustomed to them. Since 83% of freelancers work at home, they are already used to navigating through the internet and computer applications.

Hence, when the pandemic started, freelancers were the least affected because they already know how to work remotely — working at their home desks and communicating virtually. 

Other than this, being freelance workers, they had to work with a diverse set of people from different time zones if the employer is international. 

So, if the move is to join freelancing in the Philippines, you must be quick to adjust different time slots and work with an unpredictable demographic and volume of clients.

4. The actual job description

As mentioned above, most freelance jobs in the Philippines are web design, writing, and graphic design. 

The reason the demand for these jobs is high is that companies are always in need of these types of people — someone to design their website, write blogs and articles, or design marketing materials for them. 

Read Also: Best Job Search Websites for Finding Work

However, these types of jobs do not need a full-time position. 

For example, if you are a freelance real estate agent, by the time you finish selling a house, there may be no more use for your services. Therefore, as a freelance worker, the company can avail of your real estate services and then hire you again when the need arises. 

5. Earning potential

When professionals were laid off work, the idea of freelance work is to keep their head above water. To their surprise, freelance work might have allowed them to earn even more. 

According to Upwork (UPWK), the leading online talent solution, the results of their online study called “Freelance Forward: 2020” showed that 75% of professionals earn the same or even more than they got as full-time employees. Furthermore, a UK study showed that 4 out of 5 men prefer working freelance to get more income. 

This coupled with the flexibility of freelance work and charging your own rates makes freelance work more enticing than the traditional 9-to-5. 

Living this comfortably, both from a personal and professional perspective will make retirement easier for you. 

6. Freelance skills

Making the decision to pursue freelance work forces you to excel in one specific skill. And considering the remote environment of freelance work and the vastness of internet online courses, honing your craft is even easier now. 

If you want to become a writer as your freelance job in the Philippines, online sites like Coursera and LinkedIn offer online courses that not only teach you a thing or two about writing, but they give you a certification that gives a company more security when hiring you. It also boosts your chances of getting hired. 

Then, as you navigate through job after job, you learn valuable experience in your job, and you become better and better. No lesson teaches you better than experience. 

After all the training and experience, you are suddenly your own brand — like a free agent waiting for his/her next call to get hired for a temporary gig. Job experts believe that workers being “free agents” getting temporarily hired is the next workforce trend. 

7. The new normal

If there is one thing the pandemic taught the world, it is that people can work on anything, anywhere, at any time with a laptop and internet available. 

Hence, the demand for freelance jobs in the Philippines will continue to rise. To add further, the majority of those who had become freelancers in the past year said they plan to remain freelancers even after the pandemic. Others want to return to being a full-time employee while remaining as a freelance worker. 

Other companies have taken note of the freelance inclination. On that account, other jobs like IT, Online Customer Service, and SEO are becoming freelance jobs in the Philippines. Companies need freelance workers, and the pandemic helped them realize that. 

With the work-life balance easily achieved in freelancing along with the extra income one can earn, the future of the workforce is found in freelancing. 

Written by Cholo Hermoso