The Forgotten Workforce
Represents approximately 20% of the total workforce (ATO), the Freelance workforce must be one of the least understood and understudied sectors of the community. A clear understanding must be crucial for anyone wanting to interact with this group.
Recently, Independent Contractors Australia with the support of the Commonwealth Bank set out to develop a much better understanding of this dynamic group.
Accordingly three of Australia's largest databases from the Australian Tax Office, Australian Bureau of Statistics and Roy Morgan Research were examined by researchers from Monash University. The goal was to clearly identify and summarise the key features that typified the Freelance community.
What the research revealed was that the average age for the typical freelance consultant was 35+ with 50% of men and 58% of females being aged between the ages of 35-54. Interestingly however the research shows that females dominate the Professional category with a presence of 62% but when work hours were compared men on average worked 44 hours whereas females worked an average of 27.This very significant differentiation in work hours suggesting that the profile and possibly the motivations for females in freelance work may be quiet distinct from other forms of employment. Female workers also dominated the clerical & administration as well as community & personal service vertical. Males dominated very significantly in the technical & trade sectors.
The research also showed that 41% of freelancers are more likely to earn more than the average Australian "dismissing the notion of self employment as a low skill option". The Roy Morgan data also showed that the "self employed" also dominate the "Big Spender" category. The report highlights that the high representation of females in various industry verticals "is that they are likely to be quite distinct and be strongly motivated, possibly by childcare and caring for dependents".
The summary of the report states "we have been able to actually prove that the terms 'micro-business', 'self-employed', 'independent contractor' etc are all interchangeable and are collectively and individually appropriate terms to describe the sector.
The defining essence of their work life is that their individuality is their business".
Click here to download the report.
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This article was published in the Australia Freelance Market News 60.