Does Freelancing Affect Your Employability?

With an impending Brexit meaning that employers aren’t committing to permanent hires, many candidates are considering freelancing as a stop-gap between jobs or because they’re struggling to find the right employed job for them. But the question weighing on many minds is: will freelancing will affect my ability to gain a traditional job? Are employers biased against freelancers? Or will it help me develop and display different skills? Let’s take a look at how freelancing affects employability…

Why would freelancing affect employability?

It’s tempting to think that freelancing shouldn’t have any effect on employability, but realistically employers do have opinions on freelancing and this can influence their hiring decisions. Firstly, it’s not so easy to provide a simple work history as a freelancer or get a basic reference from former employers. Secondly, freelancers work in a very different way to employees, with complete freedom over their hours, workload, and goals. This doesn’t always lend itself well to employed work. Freelancers don’t always make the best employees, since they’re used to complete autonomy and independence.

Are employers biased against freelancers?

Of course, there are some employers who view freelancers as being unable to hold down a job. Some managers worry about a freelancer’s commitment to a permanent role, their desire for autonomy in work, or their ability to adhere to rules and be told what to do. Some think you’ll jump ship at the first chance to go self-employed again. However, while some employers are no doubt biased against freelancers, not all are. Indeed, some recruiters value the initiative, independence, and problem-solving ability of former freelancers.

Will freelancing help you display different skills?

One of the great things about freelancing is you can hone and develop different skills, particularly independent thinking, decision-making, and initiative. There’s nobody to do anything except for you, so you learn to answer your own questions, solve your own problems, and improve yourself. It’s not easy to be self-sustaining, find your own clients, and exceed their expectations. So, when you start applying for employed jobs again, emphasise the range and depth of skills you’ve developed through freelancing—skills you often couldn’t gain as an employee.

Does freelancing affect employability?

Ultimately, whether freelancing makes you more or less employable depends on the individual and the company hiring. Some individuals can really sell their freelance experience and position themselves as being more employable because of it. Others come across as a flight risk. Some companies value the unique skillset of freelancers, while others are wary of the autonomy that freelancers will expect. However, if you find company who worries about giving autonomy and control to staff, would you really want to work for them anyway?

Would you even want to go back?

The final consideration is that once you’ve tasted the freelance life, you might not want to go back to the 9-5. Many freelancers would never consider employed work again, because freelancing has so many benefits in terms of control over your life, time, workload, and career goals. After freelancing for a while, you might find that you love freelancing and aren’t even interested in whether you’re employable anymore. While the freelance life isn’t for everyone, it offers a great long-term option instead of traditional employed jobs—not just a stop-gap.

Are you considering freelancing? What are your concerns? Comment below or get in touch.

Stay tuned for more tips on freelancing every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday by following A Freelance Life.

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