Report Documents Growth of Freelance Workforce

In October, Upwork and Freelancers Union released the results of “Freelance in America: 2018.” The fifth annual study estimates that 56.7 million Americans freelance, an increase of 3.7 million in the past five years.

More than one in three (35 percent) of American freelanced in 2018. Whereas the freelance workforce grew 7% in five years, the non-freelance workforce grew just 2 percent (from 103 million to 105.3 million) in five years.

Full-time freelancers now make up 28% of the workforce, up 11 points since 2014. The percentage of part-time freelancers has declined 9 percent since 2014, and the number of full-time workers who earn some income from freelance work has risen by 1 percent.

The full study results are available here.

Here are a few key findings:

People are increasingly starting to freelance by choice. Asked whether they started freelancing more by choice or necessity, 61% of freelancers said by choice. This is up from 53 percent in 2014. Younger generations are freelancing more than any other generation in the workforce.

Americans are spending more time freelancing.The average weekly hours spent freelancing increased from 998 million hours a week in 2015 to more than one billion hours per week.

Technology makes it easier to find work. 64% of freelancers found work online, a 22-percent increase since 2014.

Lifestyle matters most. Both freelancers and non-freelancers prioritize achieving the life they want, but freelancers are more likely to get it. Fifty-one percent of freelancers say no amount of money would entice them to take a traditional job.

Freelancers place more value on skills training. 70 percent of full-time freelancers participated in skills training in the past six months, compared to only 49 percent of full-time non-freelancers. Many freelancers are seeking training to enhance their skills in technology, networking, and business management. Freelancers are more likely than non-freelancers to pay for the training themselves.

About 69 percent of freelancers have an annual personal income of less than $75,000. Only 14 percent make $100,000 a year or more.

Freelancers feel anxious about all they have to manage and the unpredictable nature of the work.  Sixty-three percent said they are anxious about managing financials, taxes, insurance, etc. The same number expressed anxiety about the unpredictability of their assignments and workloads. Fifty-six percent said freelancing can make them feel isolated.

On the flip side, 76 percent said they feel more stimulated by the work and 77 percent said freelancing has given them more time for the people and things they care most about.

“The Freelancing in America survey remains a touchstone in for anyone interested in the true measure of freelance work in the U.S. today,” said Louis Hyman, Director of the Institute for Workplace Studies at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “As a collaboration between Upwork and Freelancers Union, it is an interpretation from both sides of the client-freelancer.”

“Freelancers play a critical role in our economy and shaping the future of work,” said Stephanie Kasriel, president and CEO of Upwork. “Despite an economic boom that has created a record number of full-time, 9-to-5 openings, Americans are increasingly choosing to freelance.”

She notes that technology is freeing people from the time and place work constraints that are no longer necessary for today’s mostly knowledge-based work: “This year’s results reveal that most workers prioritize lifestyle over earnings, but freelancers are much more likely to attain the life they want.”

Kasriel believes professionals with the most in-demand skills will increasingly choose to freelance.

“The 2018 Freelancing in America report demonstrates the remarkable growth of the freelance workforce over the past five years,” said Caitlin Pearce, Executive Director of Freelancers Union. “Freelancers are the backbone of our economy, but this crucial segment of America’s workforce faces unique challenges, including access to affordable healthcare and workforce development training to update skills in a competitive environment.”

About Upwork

Upwork is the largest global freelancing website. It enables businesses to find and work with highly skilled freelancers and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at a set time and place. Upwork is based in Mountain View, California and has offices in San Francisco and Chicago.

About Freelancers Union

Freelancers Union is the largest and fast-growing organization representing the millions of independent workers across the country. It gives its 400,000 members a voice through policy advocacy, benefits, and community. 

HP Updates Hardware, Software and Services for Creative Pros

Z by HP is a collection of high-powered computers and accessories for artists, designers, photographers, and video editors. The portfolio includes a 3D scanning camera, combination laptop/tablet computers, desktop workstations for virtual reality, color-calibrating displays, and wide-format printers with built-in spectrophotometers for color management. All of these tools deliver the productivity, versatility, and security that creative professionals need to do their best work

“Today’s creatives need specialized tools and solutions to help them stay in the creative zone, increase their productivity, and create whenever and wherever inspiration strikes,” said Xavier Garcia, vice president and general manager, Z by HP Inc. “We are listening to creative pros and investing in innovation that makes it easier for them to unleash their creativity.”

HP ZBook Studio x360
HP ZBook Studio x360

At the 2018 Adobe® MAX conference for creative professionals in October, HP Inc. introduced powerful new hardware and feature-rich software and services to reinvent how the world creates.

Improvements to Z by HP Portfolio

At Adobe MAX, HP announced that HP ZBook Studio, HP ZBook Studio x360, HP ZBook 15, and HP ZBook 17 have been enhanced with greater processing power, innovative security features, and bright displays.

The performance increase, with six-core Intel® Core™i9 processors, will enable creatives to tackle heavier workloads such as video editing and 3D rendering. The expanded memory option up to 32 GB of memory allows users to work faster with large amounts of data. To provide greater peace of mind, the RAID 1 mirrored SSD storage feature provides automatic backup of valuable data. Both the HP ZBook Studio and Studio x360 gain a boost in graphics performance and the ability to seamlessly render and edit with the NVIDIA® Quadro® P2000 graphics card.

The HP ZBook Studio x360 is one of the most powerful convertible PCs in the world. By providing the comfort of a laptop with the convenience of a tablet, users can reimagine the creative process. HP ZBook Studio features an optional new anti-glare touchscreen, so you can continue to be productivity whether you are working outdoors on a sunny day or in a brightly lit environment. The latest generation of Corning Gorllia Glass provides enhanced durability.

The immersive HP DreamColor anti-glare display supports 100 percent Adobe RGB, has 600 nits of brightness. This is 20 percent brighter than the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina display and 50 percent brighter than the Dell XPS UltraSharp 4K display.

“With HP bringing new powerful options to the Adobe community, creatives can select from a range of new products that best fit their digital workflows,” said Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager Digital Media at Adobe. “The combination of Adobe Creative Cloud® and Z by HP hardware and HP printing products will help our community continue to push the boundaries of their creativity.”

To view all of the products in Z by HP product line, go here.

HP SmartStream Designer for Designers

HP Inc. makes dozens of digital printers for design and technical documents, signage and decoration, general and commercial publishing, labels, packaging, and textiles.

According to Doris Brown-McNally, global brand innovation manager, digital printing is changing how design and brands behave. Digital print technologies can take a core design and change its colors, copy, images, and composition from print to print.

To unleash the limitless, creative possibilities of digital print and packaging, HP now offers a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator CC called SmartStream Designer for Designers (D4D).

HP Smartstream D4D

HP SmartStream D4D is a suite of “light” design solutions that empower designers to customize and personalize any design through the use of variable text, color, and images. With the SmartStream Mosaic feature in the D4D software, designers can create seed files that can be infinitely manipulated through the use of algorithms to create endlessly unique designs in real-time. HP SmartStream D4D is now available as a free download plug-in app for both Mac and PC platforms on Adobe Exchange.

With SmartStream Designer software, every package can have a different design.

“HP Digital Print has the ability to make packaging and other printed materials more agile and limitless. But until now, there has a been a gap between concept and creation,” said Nancy James, global head of brand innovation, HP Inc. “With HP SmartStream D4D, designers can play with the powerful software in Adobe Illustrator CC to create memorable and impactful packaging campaigns for global and local brands.”

To learn more about HP SmartStream D4D and view stories about how the software transformed the way creatives design for print, go here.

Hiring Outlook for Creative Pros in First Half of 2019

What’s the employment outlook for creative talent? According to The Creative Group’s latest State of Creative Hiring research, 60 percent of advertising and marketing hiring decision makers plan to expand their teams in the first half of 2019.

Thirty-seven percent of employers anticipate maintaining staff levels and primarily filling vacated roles. In addition, 56 percent of companies expect to increase the number of freelancers they use in the next six months.

Research from The Creative Group reveals in-demand creative skills for the first half of 2019.

Web and mobile development and web production are the top areas for recruiting — and among the hardest to staff, results showed. Advertising and marketing hiring managers also reported a strong need for professionals with expertise in user experience, creative development and visual design.

“As companies continue to invest in digital transformation, they seek people who can help with new and ongoing initiatives,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “In addition to hiring full-time staff, many are bringing on freelancers to provide extra support during busy periods, fill skills gaps on their teams and access a different pool of talent.”

The research also shed light on staffing challenges and trends in the creative industry. Among the findings:

Good talent is hard to come by. Ninety-two percent of advertising and marketing hiring decision makers said it’s challenging to find creative professionals today.

There’s a need for recruiting speed. When asked to name the greatest barrier to bringing on top talent, the most common response was a slow hiring process (19 percent), followed by a failure to offer competitive pay (17 percent).

Flexibility is a selling point. Employers surveyed said a flexible work schedule (32 percent) is the most desirable noncash perk for creative professionals. A generous vacation or time-off policy (21 percent) ranked second.

Experience matters. When evaluating applicants for creative roles, 31 percent of hiring decision makers rated previous experience as the top criterion. Twenty-one percent of respondents said the portfolio carries the most weight.

Companies are relaxing some requirements. Seventy-four percent of hiring managers are now more willing to bring on creative talent who have relevant certifications in lieu of a college degree than they were 12 months ago.

Frequent job changes are a red flag. One-quarter of employers (25 percent) said it’s likely they’d remove a candidate from consideration if their resume showed a history of job hopping.

Retention is a top concern. Seventy-eight percent of companies are worried about losing current creative staff members to other job opportunities in the next 12 months.

“U.S. unemployment is at its lowest level since 1969, and companies are struggling to staff open roles on their teams,” Domeyer added. “The talent shortage is even more pronounced for creative professionals with digital expertise — the precise individuals most in demand with employers. An efficient hiring process, competitive compensation and strong organizational culture are essential to recruiting in today’s market.”

About the Research
The online survey was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by a leading independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 400 advertising and marketing hiring decision makers who work full-time at agencies with 20 or more employees or companies with 100 or more employees in the United States.

About The Creative Group
The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in connecting creative, digital, marketing, advertising and public relations talent with the best companies on a project, contract-to-hire and full-time basis. For more information, including job hunting services and candidate portfolios, visit roberthalf.com/creativegroup.

Put Your Best Face Forward: Update Your Professional Headshot

When did you last update the head shot on your LinkedIn page or website? If it’s been more than two years, it might not resemble how you look to potential new clients or employers. 

The headshot you post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, on your website, and in your email signature should always reflect how you want to be perceived as a creative professional. An outdated headshot raises doubts about your self-confidence, credibility, and willingness to change with the times.   

In her excellent blog post “Why Do I Need a Professional Headshot?” Cincinnati photographer Kim Dalton emphasizes that today a headshot is your first impression: “Would you go on an interview or to work, in your swimsuit, college hoodie, or favorite Hawaiian shirt? In most cases, you wouldn’t. But I see people doing this every day with their headshot.”

Kim Dalton head shot
Head shot photographer Kim Dalton

Dalton illustrates her point by showing the difference between some of the head shots her clients had posted on LinkedIn before and after they came to her studio for a professional headshot. The “before” photos were perfectly fine, but the “after” photos really make a statement. And it’s clear Kim can work her photographic magic on professionals of all ages.

Learning from Experience

Like many writers, I hate having my portrait taken by professional photographer. As a “mature” creative who works in the technology field, I had a hard time finding a photographer who delivered the results I wanted. My headshot shouldn’t make me look older than I feel. I want potential clients and employers know that I remain eager to work, learn, and change.

But because some portrait photographers made me feel rushed and unnatural, I tend to look stiff and uncomfortable in my headshot photos. To save money, I tried taking selfies that I could crop and edit however I wanted. But that approach failed too, because my instinct was to go overboard with the retouching.

Without a flattering, natural-looking head shot, I was even more reluctant to promote myself than I usually am.

I first met Kim Dalton several years ago when I was writing a series of articles called “Cincinnati is Creative” for WCPO.com. I was one of the freelance writers that the Cincinnati-area broadcast station hired to help them quickly beef up their online content with more local feature stories and profiles.  I contacted Kim after noticing that her photographs of Cincinnati depicted the city in a fresh, intriguing way.

She remembered me because that story on WCPO.com attracted thousands of visitors to her website. So when Kim contacted me about her switch to head-shot photography, I was immediately intrigued.

After reading her blog post and viewing her before-and-after pictures, it was clear that Kim was taking a different approach to headshot photography. So when she offered to shoot me, I couldn’t resist.

Before our appointment, she gave me clear, detailed instructions on what type of clothing to wear, depending on how I would like to be portrayed (business executive, business casual, or casual). She encouraged me to bring more than one top, so if one color or neckline style didn’t work, we could try another. 

Her approach to posing, lighting, and shooting was also more fun and different from anything I had experienced in other photography studios. Instead of issuing a routine series of posing instructions, Kim took a genuine interest in coaxing a more confident look and natural-looking smile. Because her camera was tethered to her computer, we immediately reviewed the results of the shoot so we could pick out the favorites as we went along. Being able to see the results during the shoot motivated me to relax and lighten up.

You can see the difference in the photo that Kim took in December 2018 and the photo I had taken in 2017.

Eileen Fritsch Headshot 2017 and 2018

When I asked why her before and after results are so striking, Kim reminded me that all photographers see things differently. Getting a great head shot may simply be a matter of finding a photographer who understands the type of image you want to project.

Kim studied headshot photography from Peter Hurley, a New York-based photographer who shoots headshots for well-known models, actors,  media personalities, and corporate executives.  Hurley wrote a book for professional photographers entitled, “The Headshot: The Secrets to Creating Amazing Headshot Portraits.” He also founded The Headshot Crew, a global network of Hurley-coached headshot and portrait photographers.

If a bad headshot inhibits you from actively promoting yourself online, don’t despair. You don’t have to resort to using an old photo, avatar, or cartoon to represent yourself. Finding a professional headshot photographer whose style matches the quality of your work as a writer, designer, or artist can make a world of difference.

If you live in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region (or travel here for business), check out Kim’s work on her website:  https://kdaltonphotography.com/ Or, find a member of The Headshot Crew in your city.   

Creative Managers Say Flexible Work Arrangements Improve Performance

Working longer hours fewer days a week could be good for business, according to new workplace research from staffing firm The Creative Group. Half of advertising and marketing hiring decision makers (50 percent) surveyed feel productivity would increase if their company instituted a compressed schedule, where employees work four 10-hour days. In addition, more than three-quarters of respondents (76 percent) support allowing staff to attend to non-work-related tasks while on the clock in order to boost overall performance.

More companies recognize that the best work doesn’t always happen in the office Monday through Friday from 9 to 5,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “A flexible workplace, where employees have greater control over when and where they work, can improve productivity and job satisfaction. It can also be a big draw for professionals, helping companies attract and keep the best talent.”

Work-Life Balance is a Shared Responsibility

When it comes to achieving healthy work-life balance, most employers want staff to meet them halfway, the survey suggests. Fifty-two percent of creative managers said companies and employees are equally accountable; only 6 percent said it’s solely the company’s concern.

“Savvy employers recognize that staff who are able to take care of personal tasks and pursue outside passions during business hours often bring their most creative and productive selves to the job,” Domeyer explained. “But employees must remember that with freedom comes responsibility. To maintain privileges like a flexible schedule, staff must continue to deliver results and meet goals.”

Infographic about Flexible Workplace Survey

Visit The Creative Group’s Creative and Marketing  Blog to learn more about alternative work arrangements and making work-life balance a part of employee retention.

About the Research

The online survey was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by a leading independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 400 advertising and marketing hiring decision makers who work full-time at agencies with 20 or more employees or companies with 100 or more employees in the United States.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in connecting creative, digital, marketing, advertising and public relations talent with the best companies on a project, contract-to-hire and full-time basis. For more information, including job-hunting services and candidate portfolios, visit roberthalf.com/creativegroup.

Artist Led Fashion Start-up Blends Art, Fashion, and Storytelling

Direct-to-garment printing and textile printing technology is enabling all sorts of clothing products to be manufactured or customized on demand. One company taking advantage of this capability is Made of Space, an artist-led fashion start-up in Denver, Colorado. They are using on-demand printing to connect apparel buyers with the artists and causes they care about.

The company believes that modern shoppers are looking for meaningful connections with authentic experiences —not mass-produced clothing that ends up in a landfill.

Made of Space’s first drop features designs from four renowned artists. Apparel is on sale now at https://madeofspace.com. (PRNewsfoto/Made of Space)

 

“People have evolved from buying based on brand, to questioning where their clothing comes from and where it will end up,” said Ashan T, co-founder of Made of Space. “Today’s shoppers are more selective about what brands they associate with, and they’re looking for meaning and purpose in their experiences. They know you can’t find authenticity hanging on a rack. Everyone is an artist, and the Made of Space platform gives people a way to express their individuality.”

Made of Space puts people who create art and advocate for causes at the center of the brand. Apparel is the medium through which artists and advocates can express themselves.

Made of Space puts people who create art and advocate for causes at the center of the brand. Apparel is the medium through which artists and advocates can express themselves. Earnings are shared with the artists.

The first four artists featured on the site include Jared De Palo, Ava Goldberg, Joseph Martinez, and Jaime Molina. Their work is reproduced on unisex, 100% cotton T-shirts. Before placing an order, you can see an enlargement of the artwork and read a statement from the artist.

If you are an artist or designer who can tell a story with your art and creativity, reach out to Made of Space via email (hello@madeofspace.com) or via Instagram (@_madeofspace).