Call them creatives, independents, freelancers, work nomads or digital entrepreneurs — the project based economy has taken root in south east Asia and it is here to stay. In 2020 alone, 31% of global workforces have taken to freelancing platforms to seek access to opportunities — with the charge being led by Asia.
According to KellyOCG, a talent outsourcing and consultancy group, in the Asia Pacific region alone, 84% of hiring managers outsource to gig workers. Globally, 65% of hiring managers say the gig economy is rapidly becoming the new norm for how businesses organise workflow, with 43% of global organisations who engage these part-time workers saying they save at least 20% in labour costs. Many are calling this the 4th industrial revolution — a new paradigm that is just beginning to take steam. Cornerstones of developing the freelance in southeast Asia have included the likes of agencies, trade unions and freelancing platforms.
One such backbone anchoring freelancers in Singapore, CreativesatWork, lay the ground work for local freelancers since the last decade. Chief Businesswoman of CreativesAtWork, Jayce Tham reflects on the evolution of freelancing in the region and shared that “Covid has accelerated the future of work and has made remote working more prevalent and acceptable in Asia. There is great potential and opportunity in the freelance economy however, it also means there will be great competition as well. It is more important for freelancers to focus on the business skills so as to create meaningful and rewarding freelance career for themselves ”
The flavour of freelancing in south east Asia is unique. A country passport on freelancing for some key countries –
- 8% to 10% of the Singapore labour force is engaged in freelance or gig work.
- 82% freelancers are working as freelancers for the flexibility and benefits the career choice provides
Key job source: Partially self sourced, partially through platforms
- Copy writers
- Digital Advertising
- Fastest growing freelancing country in southeast Asia
- Entrenched freelancers — 4.6 million strong
Key platforms: Primarily contract work, partially through platforms
- Sales and Marketing
- Customer Service
- Virtual Assistants
- 30% of the Thai economy is reliant on gig work in some capacity
- Valid short term work visas mean a lot of digital nomads settle in Thailand and apply to become freelancers from around the world
Key platforms: Highly platform driven
Freelancing is here to stay. Friz is here to create the financial infrastructure for freelancers in south east Asia. Join us on this journey!