The Next Big Thing In Freelance - Finance?
As digital nativism and the rise of portfolio work cultures proliferate in the modern workforce, the finance industry finds itself at a crossroads.
Here is an example: Wall Street and Threadneedle Street are averse to remote working, and some of the leading global financial players are putting their foot down on hybrid working arrangements as they seek to right their lopsided HR ship in the wake of COVID-19.
As totems of the financial world, many of the working cultures that establish themselves in the halls of financial institutions in London and the USA find their way into other countries and regions. However, it seems like remote work is not one of them, as the pushback has been vocal and hesitancy to return to the office is rising.
Naturally, other “alternative” working models and cultures come up against the siege walls of finance much like remote work. One of which is freelancing.
Is finance immune to the waves of change that are incessantly flowing over the employment and recruitment sector?
In support of National Freelancers Day, we wanted to do a little digging into how the cult of the freelancer is slowly affecting even the most staid, old school companies within finance. We also wanted to discover how these changes are manifesting, and in which sectors of finance these strands of freelance behaviours are emerging.
What is National Freelancers Day?
National Freelancers Day is held on June 16th, and is summarised thus:
“NFD is a celebration of all things freelance, and an opportunity for self-employed people across the country to look to the year ahead…(and includes) keynotes, networking opportunities, one-to-one guidance and more”.
The NFD was created by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.
What is the current state of freelancing in finance?
Finance wouldn’t be the first industry you think of when considering a freelance career, however, the industry is quietly shifting from office-bound 9-5 cultures to a more agile state of working affairs. In fact, certain finance roles such as accountancy are increasingly being advertised as freelance positions – like bookkeepers for hire. Some freelancer polls put accountancy in the top 10 best and highest paying freelance jobs in 2022.
According to FM Magazine, there is indeed large-scale financial change afoot.
As financial vacancies proliferate, there is a demand for on-demand financial professionals. These professionals can then trade at premium rates. “Those who hold the CGMA designation, with their depth of knowledge and varied skill sets, are in a unique position to take advantage of these (freelance) opportunities”.
The financial side hustle and the changing nature of work.
These financial freelance jobs have arisen, in part, because of three things:
- The rapid shift to digital reliance (and the rise of financial digital transformation strategies) during the pandemic years to shore up business output:
- Increasing confidence and usability of financial skills online via freelancer communities and websites;
- And the shortage of specialist financial talent available in the recruitment market.
A high proportion of skilled people around the world started a side hustle or freelance gig in the last couple of years – 36% of adults, according to Upwork. But the crucial difference between short term freelance finance roles and more established “gig” economy jobs is in the elite and specialist nature of the skills required.
“Highly skilled individuals engaging in professional B2B freelancing is not the same as the gig economy,” says the founder of The Indie List, in the Irish Times. The Indie List (albeit only in Ireland) taps into the same sort of specialist workforce as other companies such as Fiverr, Upwork and YunoJuno, offering in-demand skills via an easy-to-use website which connects employers with talent for short term work.
These positions are, of course, more than just good pay. They offer workers more flexibility and more control over their working routines and considering the consistent demand for financial skills across a whole gamut of industries, freelance financial professionals have more than a secure future ahead of them.
The bottom line
The culture of freelancing continues to evolve and expand, and finance, like almost every service industry, is being caught up in its wake. So the industry continues to evolve as networks become more dispersed and finance, financial services and financial operations become more decentralised. The future may not be completely freelance, but it’s looking increasingly likely it’ll become one of the most dominant models of work in the coming decade.
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Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash
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