Third of freelancers suffer ‘disheartening’ skills decay

Developing a freelancer-friendly training system to help business soloists fine-tune their skills might hit a dud note if new research is right.

In fact, despite the attempt to get freelancers to be even more ‘expert’, nearly one in three freelancers say they have become less expert than when they started their self-employment.

'De-skilled'

Or in the words of the pollsters who quizzed 1,000 freelancers, 27 per cent admitted that they have “de-skilled” since becoming freelance.

So ‘career compromise’ or ‘stunted career progression’ is hurting 29 per cent of freelancers -- likely in the survey to include both the ‘de-skilled’ contingent, plus a few more indpendents.

Ironically, 41 per cent -- an even bigger chunk, only got into freelancing to get the career they wanted. Printer firm Epson which commissioned the findings called them “disheartening.”

'Vulnerable'

“The skills that clients need from their self-employed workforce constantly change”, said the firm, pointing to global, economic and digital factors.

“If freelance workers can't respond to that by investing in their own professional development, they leave themselves very vulnerable”.

The rub is -- self-improvement through training courses is rarely at the top of freelancers’ ‘to-do’ lists, according to Epson’s Annika Fargerstrom.

'Hassle'

“[This is] largely because there are a dozen other tasks there already….[such as] accounts and taxes, office equipment, marketing and IT”, she said. “[Then the challenge is] fitting all of this in around their paid commissions.”  

Recommendations from the firm, which is providing unlimited printing at a London co-working pop-up, include putting in place invoice and order processing systems to help reduce the hassle of traditionally manual tasks.

 

4th October 2018

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