We are fast approaching the end of 2020. These are unprecedented times which most of us have not encountered in our lives prior to 2020. Our hearts are with those in Victoria, as well as those struggling in Australia and all around the world.
Australia Freelance Market has been renamed. Our team is in the midst of rolling out new changes to the look and feel of our website, so keep your eyes peeled for that! We strive to provide you with an optimal service, even during the crisis, by maintaining our operations without restrictions by working from home, as many of you are also probably doing, whether you are managing a company or freelancing.
This issue of Australia Freelance Market newsletter focuses on adapting and emerging stronger from the Corona crisis, in addition to the rising unemployment rate and what this means for businesses and freelancers. We understand the difficulties faced by freelancers and small business owners and the pressure that is placed upon them. Take a look at our special guest article by Dr. Gerhild Schulz.
On a final note, may the winning photographs of the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2020 competition and our freelancer joke provide a different perspective and a welcomed distraction for you.
Stay safe, stay strong and remember that we can get through this crisis together!
For Australians, by Australians, in Australia.
We have changed our business name from 'Freelance-Market' to 'Australia Freelance Market'. This way, we want to stress our focus and dedication to our Australian freelancers and clients.
Over the next few weeks, we are rolling out more changes on our website, some of which have already been implemented. Our team is working hard in the background to keep this platform accessible and user-friendly for freelancers and clients, in order to adapt to the needs in our fast-changing world.
Do keep your eyes open for the new and improved look and feel of our website at AustraliaFreelanceMarket.com.au!
2020 has, without a doubt, been a challenging year indeed! But through these adversities, we have rediscovered what is important to us.
Connection, contact and freedom are what we all crave. Many of us have realised that it is not the material things that are the most important, but interpersonal relationships and social interaction. If we stick together and help one another mentally, physically and emotionally, we will get through the crisis and emerge stronger.
COVID-19 is changing our future right now. We have adapted to embracing new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, and new ways of living, such as working from home and virtual communication. Many of us are now realising how easy and convenient it is not to have to commute to the office every day. We had to quickly become familiar with various technologies that allow us to work remotely, train ourselves and utilise our free time at home. Employees, the self-employed, teachers and students alike have had to learn to use online platforms.
What COVID-19 showed us is that working and learning from home is not only possible, but also practical. As we recover from the pandemic, many companies will choose to have employees and freelancers work from home, at least in part.
This will also have an impact on the property sector, for example. As businesses have fewer employees in their offices and some small businesses may never recover, the commercial real estate market is likely to shrink. On the other hand, apartments that are in beautiful locations and have fully equipped home offices could become more desirable.
The transportation sector, including the automotive and aerospace industries, will also be affected by the changes. With fewer people commuting to work or school every day, some transport infrastructure projects may no longer seem as necessary as they had been pre-Covid.
In the last few weeks we have made technologies our own that represent the entry into the ´future of work´. There will be more flexibility, more online platforms and increasing collaboration thanks to the new possibilities.
We haven´t defeated the coronavirus yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe we will be in a stronger and better position after the crisis than ever before. Let us continue to support Australians and work towards a brighter future for all.
Scott Morrison, our Prime Minister, has announced that the official unemployment rate is likely to reach 10% by the end of 2020, an increase from previous estimations. Effective unemployment rate is estimated to reach 13%.
Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia and the University of Melbourne have announced plans to cut 6000, 3000 and 450 jobs respectively. There are many more companies across Australia and across the world who have had to make extremely tough decisions to retrench employees or to close the business.
Even though many businesses have resumed operations across Australia, excluding Victoria, the unemployment rate is at an all-time high. Prior to Victoria’s stage four lockdown, more than one million Australians are out of work, putting the unemployment rate at 7.5%.
What does this mean for freelancers? Freelancers would be higher in demand, especially as companies are looking to streamline their costs and operations and avoid hiring full-timers. There would also be more freelancers in the market as there is an increasing conversion of employment from full-time employment to freelancing or project-based jobs.
At Australia Freelance Market, we have seen an increased volume of enquiries, freelancer registrations and client requests for introduction to freelancers. We are expecting this upward trend to continue and we are excited to be playing an important role in boosting Australia’s economy.
The Australian government’s JobKeeper package, which covers full- and part-time employees, sole traders and casuals who have been working for the same employer for at least a year, has left out an important group of Aussies -- the freelancers.
Included in this group are employees or casuals who have worked for the same employer for less than a year, or those who have been working for multiple employers. As such, this significant group of people - estimated at 1.1 million Australians - have had to put in additional effort, time and resources to search for other sources of income. This led to a surge in the demand for services on online platforms such as the Australia Freelance Market.
Let us work together to support Australians and the Australia economy by sourcing for freelancers in Australia.
Nothing in our world is the same anymore - and we wonder if it will ever be the same again. While economic experts are anticipating a massive recession, the current global situation is hitting freelancers particularly hard. Many fear for their existence...
Marcel B., a freelance IT consultant at Daimler, has lost his job. The automotive company is now on short-time work. “The outsiders are the first to be kicked out,” he says. “I can only hope that the recession will be over at some point and that I will be hired again. It is uncertain how long that will take. I´m home now and my wife goes to work. To do this, she has to commute 150 km a day.'
Klaus K., the owner of an interpreting agency in the top segment, also had to shut down. The company, which has been established for decades, is simply swept away by the crisis. 'If high-paying orders ceased all at once and fixed business costs in the five-digit range for rent and salaries can no longer be financed from sales, I might be able to bridge this in the short term, but not for months.' Due to the unpredictability of the global economic situation, he made the decision early with a heavy heart to retire so as not to get into heavy debt.
The corona crisis affects practically all freelancers. Anyone who has been working on a fee basis for a long time or is used to a patchwork of jobs does not have it easier. This applies, for example, to the teachers at numerous language schools, who were very much in demand only recently. Many freelancers rely on a sufficient number of hours and projects. In the short term, one can make do with small projects, such as providing online lessons and video conferences. But it is questionable whether the freelance projects are still being paid for by companies. Numerous projects have simply been cancelled - with dramatic consequences for the freelancers.
It also affects many small entrepreneurs, such as dance schools, which have often built up an existence over the years with courses, performances and regular dance events. Some are currently keeping their dancers afloat with fundraising. It does work – but how long? There is even the website gofundme.com for this idea.
In addition to these creative ideas born out of immediate need, companies can now apply for help from the government. In this way, small business owners like us may be able to meet our payment obligations and maintain our businesses for the short term, in spite of drastically reduced income.
Working completely from home ensures that Australia Freelance Market is fully operational during the corona crisis. IT, marketing, customer administration, as well as finance and accounting are fully operational and currently available with our full team of staff.
Since 50% or more of the projects we brokered allowed for telecommuting, the slump in the number of brokered projects is limited. Some projects that were previously carried out in physical locations are now being carried out via telework.
The corona crisis even added new projects, for example for IT specialists who are now ensuring that home workplaces are securely integrated into the company network.
However, there are also some companies that are now postponing their projects. For example, a long-term system documentation project for software and hardware at a leading medium-sized window manufacturer that was brokered by Australia Freelance Market at the beginning of March had been cancelled. The reason given by the head of department was that there are currently more important problems and that management has to primarily take care of its own people during the corona crisis.
The winners have been announced for the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2020 competition.
This is a timely reminder that we share the Earth with a myriad of flora and fauna, on which we are interdependent, much like the support of Australia Freelance Market for Australian businesses and freelancers.
May this provide a different perspective and welcome distraction for you. Click Here to view.
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