Crowd-sourcing sites blamed for tougher freelancer conditions

Pip Jamieson

Pip Jamieson

Crowd-sourcing websites have been accused of contributing to tougher conditions for creative freelancers, with a survey revealing almost half claim to have been underpaid and three-quarters saying they have not landed permanent roles from their contract work.

The findings of the survey conducted by creative industries networking community The Loop found on average full-time freelancers only work for eight months of the year, with creative freelancers typically spending more than five weeks actively searching between roles, with just over half of the 1,127 respondents saying they have taken on more junior roles just to get work

It also found 76 per cent of the respondents said a freelance contract rarely or never turns into a permanent role.

Co-founder of The Loop, Pip Jamieson said sites like 99Designs and were making conditions tougher for contractors, adding: “These types of platforms exploit creatives, devalue their work and create an environment that encourages fast turn-around at the expense of the quality of the work.”

Nearly all the freelancers surveyed  revealed they’ve worked more hours on a project than they had costed for, and almost half – 46 per cent – reported having not been paid in full for freelance work.

Jamieson said: “These results show that working as a freelancer in the creative sector is often a far cry from the ideal scenario of high incomes, freedom and endless variety that many in the industry perceive it to be.

“Freelancers provide a flexible labour force that is a key pillar of most creative sector agency or consultancy business models. But freelance workers, who play a vital role in the growth and success of the creative industries in Australia, often find it fairly challenging to make a proper living this way.”

A survey from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance which focused on freelance journalists found more than 45 per cent of the 326 freelancers surveyed earn less than $29,000 a year from journalism.  The results also found many journalists were not paid for online work, with some editors not paying for blogs, opinion pieces and photographs.

Longergan Research conducted a survey of 1,127 subscribers of from across Australia at the beginning of the year.


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