The New World of Work - Perspectives and the Future of Freelance Working
The New World of Work
Perspectives and the Future of Freelance Working
Secretary General, European Forum of Independent Professionals
European Medical Writers Association Autumn Conference, 4 November 2016
The New York Cit ’s su a s ste has reported in April 2015 that,
for the first time in 30 years:
… this is because people are ditching the conventional commute
to a 9-to-5 job, so they can live and work differently.
The Rush Hour is Dying!
eekda gro th as
strongest outside of the
traditional morning and
e e i g rush hours .
The Shortening of Work Relationship
Adapted from Thomas Malone – The spectrum of jobs
1. A high degree of autonomy
Freelancers exercise control over their workload and portfolio,
giving them a greater degree of flexibility than employees.
2. Payment by task, assignment, or sales
Freelancers are paid for their output – the completion of a project,
rather than their input – number of hours worked.
3. Short-term relationship with clients
Freelancers perform short-term assignments. They can begin to
work immediately without infrastructures, funding, a business plan
and often learn business skills as they go.
4. Measuring growth in unconventional ways
Freelancers want to keep their business at a manageable size,
balancing income generation with creativity, freedom, self-reliance
How to Spot a Freelancer
[40% of all freelancers]
Traditional freelancers who derive their primary
income from independent work and do not have
an employer nor employees but instead do
freelance work on a project-to-project basis.
E.g. A self-employed chiropractor in private
Part-Time Freelancers (Moonlighters)
[45% of all freelancers]
Individuals with multiple sources of income from a
mix of traditional employer and freelance work.
E.g. A self-employed professor who also gives paid
speeches and writes/sells an e-book.
[10% of all freelancers]
Individuals with a single employer, client, job, or
contract project where their employment status is
E.g. A self-employed business consultant working
for one client on a contract basis for a month-long
Freelance Business Owners
[5% of all freelancers]
Freelancers who provide their services through a
limited company rather than as a solo trader.
E.g. A self-employed social marketing guru with her
own one-person company.
Consultants PR/Marketing prof. IT prof. Journalists
Real estate prof. Painters Translators/Interpreters Magicians
Football players Top models HR/Headhunters Writers/Editors
Interior designers Meteorologists Virtual assistants Therapists
Social workers Private investigators Fitness trainers Photographers
Social media prof. Exotic dancers Actors/Film Makers Game developers
Bloggers Musicians/Singers Tour guides Medium/Fortune Tellers
Buskers Yoga instructors Gardeners Personal coaches
Senior carers/Nannies Chiropractors Web developers/Coders Bitcoin miners
Some Examples of Freelancers
Structural shifts shaping a new world of work
• Faster lifestyles
• Technological revolution
• Demographic changes
• Increased mobility
• Development of the service sector
• New production patterns
• Online platforms
• Eroding brand and employer loyalties
• Need for specialised ad hoc skills
• Cost effective online advertising
• Access to better business infrastructure
Work is nowadays …
1. Much more accessible
2. In much smaller pieces
3. From a greater number
Hollywood and Pharma Industry
• Healthcare sector is an area where the
Hollywood model (highly flexible project-
based approach) has developed.
• Research is often ceded to startups or
• External scientists, executives and staff
with complementary skills work on a
single project with venture funding and
• If successful, the team might sell the
medication or its marketing rights to a
• The team later disbands, and moves on
to another project.
• Define freelancers as a unique subset of micro-
enterprises for the purpose of the SMEs
• Obtain better data on the freelance workforce
through new and more regular government
surveys, with up-to-date categories and criteria.
• Modernize the safety net with a portable system
of benefits tied to workers, not to a single
• Produce simplified policy that considers
freelancers, with impact assessments adapted to
• Create the right incentives and ensure freelancers
can access work, public procurement, credit,
social security, training, infrastructures and tax
benefits at the same conditions of employees.
Recommendations: Policy Makers
• Develop flexible pension products which
freelancers can access, without penalty, when
faced with income volatility.
• Develop affordable income protection
insurance options for freelancers.
• Create a saving scheme for freelances where
they can channel a percentage of every
• Build more shared offices that can be booked
in increments and coworking spaces.
• Develop flexible training programs to enable
freelancers to advance their careers.
• Understand lifetime employment is largely
a relic of the past.
• Operate like a self-contained small
• Map out your own career trajectories,
looking for your own advancement.
• Develop differentiated skills to avoid
becoming part of a low-wage generalist
• Learn self-management skills and
foresight to prepare for highs and lows in
• Do ’t thi k i ter s of e plo ees but in terms
• Create an external talent pool and appoint an
officer of extended workforce management.
• Device analytics to measure performance and
integrate freelancers into the company culture.
• People specializing in doing what they do best
raises their engagement and makes companies
• Consider the trade-offs, it can be unwise to
a age so eo e’s ork e ter all a d riskier
to entrust someone with confidential projects.
• Ensure that independent workers are treated
fairly and ethically.
Adapted from Peck, The Flexible Firm (1996)
There are la s for people a d
laws for businesses, but we are a
e ategor , a third ategor …
people as usi esses.
- Brian Chesky, CEO Airbnb
M father had one job in his
life, I've had six in mine, my
kids will have six at the same
- Robin Chase, CEO Zipcar
European Forum of Independent Professionals
@EFIPUpdate | #iPros | #ThinkSmallestFirst
Understanding Independent Professionals in the EU, Lorence Nye and Kayte
Jenkins, June 2016.
Freelancing in America, Freelancers Union and Upwork report, 2015.
How do the staffing needs of companies evolve?, Denis Pennel
Ciett Managing Director presentation at ILO ITC, 2nd November 2015.
The Future of Work: Skills and Resilience for a World of Change, European
Political Strategy Centre, 10 June 2016.
Future of Work White Paper, World Employment Confederation, September
Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy, McKinsey Global
Report, October 2016.