In addition to affecting regular jobs worldwide, the global pandemic has also hit freelance work, as most Pakistani freelancers believe that demand for work has significantly decreased in the midst of Covid-19.
The opinion of these 64 percent Pakistani freelancers that came up during a recent survey also shows that companies and businesses have reduced freelancing costs and avoided any new ventures or contracts.
Freelancers from over 100 countries, including emerging markets such as Pakistan, shared their insights into the impact of Covid-19 with a digital payment network, Payoneer, on the economic outlook for freelance services.
Based on a survey of over 1,000 freelancers, Payoneer’s report entitled ‘Freelancing during Covid-19’ showed that 64 pc Pakistani freelancers — 33 pc of them graphic designers — said demand for their services had fallen sharply. The business had remained as usual for 15pc freelancers, while 18pc reported a rise in demand for their services, the report says.
24pc Pakistani freelancers said in terms of reducing team size they would keep the same team or grow it while 9pc said they were cutting down on team members.
A Competitive Future
Although demand for freelancers seems to have decreased in the short term, many assume it is only a matter of time before businesses get back on their feet and turn to outsource to obtain quality talent.
In Pakistan, 82pc of the freelancers said demand after Covid-19 will increase.
As more workers made the switch to freelancing, they predicted tighter competition ahead, with 64pc stating that their rates remained unchanged or even increased during this period, suggesting they felt confident that their fees were fair and attractive even in the current climate. On the other hand, freelancers from 35pc have said they have lowered prices.
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Many respondents said that they thought that self-employment may gradually become more secure than full-time jobs.
“Payoneer surveyed over a thousand freelancers and found that 53pc believed that demand for their services would rise once the pandemic had ended. New freelancers entering the marketplaces have already shown rapid growth, “said Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer.
Ayman Sarosh, Pakistan ‘s 2019 Freelancer of the Year said: “Currently businesses are moving online, and freelancers have tremendous opportunities to help their businesses grow, both in web/app development and digital marketing.”
“I have seen quite a few freelancers who have not only been very involved in work portals but also on other social media platforms, expanding their skills to support and market their services. The current situation appears to provide equal opportunities and new online ventures which have never before been considered viable, “he added.
Freelancers working with foreign clients based in North America and Europe have seen the highest demand decline according to the survey. Those with clients based in Asia and Australia – regions that first witnessed the epidemic, saw less of a decline in freelancers’ demand.
Freelancers who run their own team (21pc of those surveyed) had shown flexibility in protecting their staff and subcontractors. Around 76pc said they kept the rates for their team the same while they said they had lowered the rates around 17pc.
Similarly, 74pc said they would either keep their team the same size or expand it although they said they were growing their team size by about 25pc.
The report said larger companies were looking for remote workers through online marketplaces, specifically in the customer service, software and IT, and e-commerce sectors.
Globally, the report stressed, despite the slowdown, freelancing rates remained stable.
Payoneer said it experienced a month-over-month increase of 33pc in US SMBs registering to the platform to pay their international freelancers in March 2020.
Payoneer CEO said: “Companies are going to look to run leaner and, to do this, they ‘re going to have to fill the capability holes they were not expecting. Industries where demand is already rising, include web and graphic design, content writing, and marketing.