More Millennials embracing freelancing

Younger employees, the so-called Millennials, are more likely to reject working for one organisation and instead freelance with multiple organisations, research by Elance-oDesk has found.

Elance-oDesk surveyed more than 1,000 Millennials and 200 hiring managers. It found 57% of Millennials consider the concept of long-term corporate loyalty to be dead. Instead, it estimates 5.6 million young workers are choosing to freelance with multiple organisations.

Commenting on the findings, Alice Weightman, founder and MD of consultancy firm Hanson Search, told HR magazine she had noticed a “new generation” leaving university with the aim of becoming “mini entrepreneurs”.

She added: “They want to try new things and work for different businesses. They don’t see a job for life. Freelancing provides the ability to work for lots of different businesses, gain knowledge of different skillsets and accelerate their career quite quickly. It allows them to be the masters of their own destiny.”

The research also found 70% of Millennials believe they have skills previous generations didn’t have, and 73% think they are more adaptable to change than their older colleagues.

Elance-oDesk country manager, UK&I Hayley Conick said that while a lack of traditional employment opportunities may have “catalysed” the increase in independent working, it is now becoming more of a choice for many people.

She predicted an emergence of “hybrid workforces”, where hiring managers oversee a core permanent employee base working alongside independent freelancers. “Hiring managers that fail to embrace and plan for this will face a talent black hole in the next five to 10 years,” she warned.

Weightman agreed that the recession was a “driving factor” in the rise of the freelancer, but said many younger people are now embracing the lifestyle for its own merits.