More and more graduates are considering freelance careers

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A new survey of university graduates has found that just over half of degree holders about to enter the workforce have undertaken some freelancing during their studies. What is more a further 44 percent were considering freelancing or self-employment as a career option after university. The figures hint at a generational change of attitude towards the traditional 9-5, office based, working day, which is, of course, already in the process of being eroded. The study also made plain that universities have to do more to educate students about the potential fruits of freelance careers and how to go about achieving them.

16 percent of those surveyed said parents’ expectations were a barrier to going self employed, yet many showed a marked interest in freelancing and self employment according to the Next Generation of Freelancers study released by PolicyBee, an online professional insurance broker.

Kerri-Ann Hockley, who commissioned the study for PolicyBee, commented: “More and more people are turning to self-employment to overcome the difficulties of our current economic situation. The study clearly shows that many graduates have an appetite for self-employment and need to make an informed decision about whether this is the right career choice for them. Universities could do more to encourage and support potential freelancers.

However, many had been left in the dark by their institutions on how to go about being a freelancer. 62 percent of graduates said freelancing or self-employment was not discussed at all, even though it was an option for their chosen career. A further 19 percent said it was discussed but not enough information was given.

The study of 1,002 recent graduates found that over half (56 percent) of those surveyed said they had undertaken some freelancing during their studies and that 44 percent were considering freelancing or self-employment as a career option.

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  1. It is not unusual in such surveys to find high levels of interest which in reality are never converted into actual employment choices. There are good reasons for this – an entry into freelance or self-employment work may be much more successful if it is done when people are older and have the necessary contacts, experience, and professional qualifications. That said, this may well work for some new graduates and there are now more opportunities to participate in what some are calling the “gig economy” on a part time basis or in addition to a regular job.

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