Comms freelancers eye recovery in interim roles

The number of communication freelancers considering interim roles has leapt significantly over the past 12 months, an industry survey shows.

More than a third of freelancers are more likely to seek an interim role now than 12 months ago, with only 9 per cent less likely, according to the Institute of Internal Communication.

Getting enough work is currently the biggest challenge facing the freelancers, however, followed by securing a satisfactory rate of pay, ahead of copying with heavy workloads (-only 13 per cent).

The concerns appear to reflect the reduction in freelance communication roles that began in 2008, with dried-up contract bases forcing some to consider permanent work instead.

Even those comms freelancers who would normally expect to get booked “months in advance” have felt the effects, the institute added, indicating senior freelancers aren’t haven’t been immune to the dip.

But thanks to growth this year in digital communications, “the tide is now turning and the value that [communication] freelances add to a business is starting to be recognised again,” says Deenita Pattni, a director at the institute’s London branch.

Seeming to sense the change, more than a third of the freelancers said they now feel neutral about the future, and almost as many characterised their prospects as ‘positive.’

In this sense, and given that less than a fifth are affected by the scourge of late payment, comms freelancers “seem to be holding their own,” reflected IoIC’ chief executive Steve Doswell.

However he also spoke of the “challenging nature of the economic climate”, evidenced, it seems, by the 34 per cent of the freelance sample who say their outlook is gloomier than it was this time last year. Only 16 per cent said the opposite, meaning they expect improvement and the highest proportion – almost half – said things would stay the same.

Factors that make a successful freelancer-client relationship include, in order of importance, honesty on both sides (43 per cent), comprehensive briefings and regular face to face meetings (14 per cent).




18th November 2011

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