By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
A large majority of Filipino freelancers saw “job stability” as a key concern for their careers, a recent survey revealed.
A survey conducted by PayPal, the word’s largest online payment portal patronized by freelancers, found that 92 percent of those surveyed worry about job security.
“The Philippines has one of the largest proportions of freelancers to total population in the world, with 2 percent of its economy made up of freelancers,” said Nagesh Devata, General Manager for PayPal Southeast Asia Cross-Border Trade.
“While flexibility and autonomy are some of the core benefits of freelancing, participating in the gig economy does come with its own set of challenges – and job stability is one of them. As freelancers move from contract to contract, it’s difficult to forecast their businesses,” said Devata.
The survey was conducted by PayPal in April to better understand the needs of freelancers.
The Philippines is home to a vibrant gig economy, with an estimated 1.5 million freelancers in the country.
This is a segment that is fast becoming an influential part of the Filipino workforce and a key engine driving the growth of its economy, Devata said.
Aside from highlighting job stability as a key challenge, the survey also revealed the various strategies that freelancers employ to sustain a pipeline.
Freelancing for multiple clients
One of the key ways to ensure job stability is to freelance for multiple clients, he advised.
As indicated in the survey, 64 percent of Filipino Freelancers say that ‘Having more than one client’ is important to succeed as a freelancer.
This allows them to hedge the unpredictability of work and diversify their income streams. Many have embraced this strategy with 6 in 10 of the respondents stating that they currently have two clients or more, the survey showed.
“From working with the freelancer community in the Philippines for the past few years, we have seen that the more experienced freelancers have learned to work around the ‘job stability’ challenge by investing in client relationships and managing their time across multiple clients,” Devata said.
This is evident in the survey results, where nearly 54% of the respondents stated that building client relationships is the best approach to improving job stability. Other approaches include charging higher rates (20%) and upskilling with additional training (14%).
“As in any industry, an important aspect of creating stability in business is building new client relationships and maintaining existing ones. This is true for freelancers as well. Happy and loyal clients ensure sustainable long-term success,” Devata added.
Even as freelancers look to increase their client pool to ensure job stability, they face the challenges that comes with having and juggling multiple clients.
The respondents cited ‘Time management’ (69%) as the biggest challenge, followed by Different Client Requests (12%), and Building New Client Relationships (6%).
Seamless cross-border transactions
Another challenge to managing multiple jobs from various companies or employers across the globe is having a cross-border payments platform / system that allows freelancers to receive payment, and get paid on time.
“Most of these freelancers work online and remotely for employers from outside the Philippines, with a majority of them from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. By facilitating cross-border payments seamlessly with our industry-leading products, strong strategic partnerships and global outreach PayPal is an international bridge for freelancers and businesses, especially SMEs. Besides providing freelancers access to funds quickly, we also empower them by providing access to global customers, helping them to widen and increase their client pool, which they’ve indicated in the survey is key to ensuring job stability for them,” Devata said.
With offerings like PayPal Business mobile app and PayPal.MeTM, PayPal enables freelancers and small businesses to invoice their clients and customers on-the-go as well as track all of their incoming payments through their phones.
“By enabling freelancers’ access to the digital economy on a secure platform, we hope to continue to play an important role in not only helping them to survive, but to scale and realize their growth ambitions,” Devata pointed out.