More businesses projected to rely on freelance labor


THE freelance industry is expected to keep growing in the coming year, according to the country manager of Payoneer Philippines.

Monique Avila, country manager of Payoneer for the Philippines, said a “growing number” of businesses are relying on freelancers to support their full-time workforce.

Avila said the growth in the freelance industry may be attributed to “convenience, flexibility, and outstanding quality of work.”

According to the Payoneer official, this “benefits freelancers, too, since we have seen how they can enjoy a good work-life balance while still sustaining themselves, especially with the convenience, and practicality of earning in USD without leaving the country.”

Hence, Avila noted, “we expect this industry to keep growing in the coming year.”

Payoneer is one of the leading global payments platforms that partners with freelancers, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), marketplaces, and enterprises.

According to Payoneer’s 2023 Freelancer Insights Report, despite the fears of a global economic slowdown, 46 percent of the freelancers saw an increase in demand for their work.

Bulk of this, the platform said, are from digital businesses who are “growing across borders with a need to augment their teams,” adding that 29 percent saw demand at the same level as last year.

The study noted that over two thirds or 68 percent of the freelancers it surveyed believe demand will continue to grow into 2023, in line with the findings from US-based freelancing platform Upwork report that 45 percent of the companies plan to hire more freelancers in the near future.

The report, which polled 2,000 freelancers across 122 countries including the Philippines, highlighted how “resilient” the freelancing industry can be in the face of new challenges.

According to Payoneer, 15 percent of the respondents in the survey are based in Bangladesh; 12 percent in Nigeria; 8 percent in India; 8 percent in Pakistan; 5 percent in Kenya; 4 percent in the USA; 4 percent in Indonesia; 3 percent in the Philippines, among others.

In Asia Pacific, Payoneer said 44 percent those who responded to the survey are within the age group of 25 to 34 years old; 31 percent are within 18 to 24 years old; 18 percent in the 35 to 44 age group and 7 percent are 45 years old and above.

As to the number of hours these freelancers are clocking in, the report noted, “over half of our survey respondents work less than 30 hours a week as freelancers, and finding new clients is a challenge for 73 percent of them.”

In response to the rising cost of living, the results of the survey showed that 55 percent of respondents have taken on more work, and 32 percent have expanded their client base to new countries.

When asked if they are satisfied with the freelancing lifestyle, over 80 percent of the freelancers surveyed are either satisfied or very satisfied. Interestingly, close to one-third of the respondents said they were “very satisfied”, while only 3 percent feel unsatisfied.

In February 2023, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a measure that provides protection and relief to over 1.5 million Filipino freelance workers who may be victimized by abusive employers due to a lack of grievance system in the digital economy.

With 250 votes, the chamber passed House Bill (HB) No. 6718 or the “Freelance Workers Protection Act,” which also mandates the institutionalization of benefits such as night differential and hazard pay for freelance workers whenever they are applicable.

“As the digital economy expands, the number of Filipino freelance workers also increases. And if no laws are in place to protect our gig economy freelancers or to establish a formal grievance system to enforce their rights, they will be susceptible to all kinds of abuse,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement on February 6, 2023 published on the website of the House of Representatives.