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Number of people ‘self-employed’ spikes in wake of GFC

Almost a fifth of Australia’s workforce is self-employed, the Kelly Index has found, with the economic downturn opening up opportunities for freelancers, contractors and entrepreneurs.

Self Employed GFCThe Global Workforce Index sourced the opinions of 134,000 people, including 20,000 from Australia, to gain insight into the independent work sector. The survey found that 25 percent of Australian respondents would like to start their own business, with Gen Y leading the way in enthusiasm. Most respondents describing themselves as self-employed were male, and identified with the Gen X or baby boomers generation. One third of respondents believe that if they were to start their own business or launch into freelance work, there would be a strong demand for their individual skill sets. 22 percent plan to start their own business in the future.

Managing director of Kelly Services, Karen Colfer, puts the increase down to the layoffs of the last year. “Many of those who lost their jobs as a result of the global economic crisis are reinventing themselves as independent contractors, freelancers and consultants. Today, more people are taking charge of their own careers and view self-employment as a way of achieving personal and professional success.”

As businesses start to outsource non-core functions and reduce their permanent workforce, opportunities for contract work are increasing in the areas of Business Services, Government, Utilities and Information Technology.

Jennifer Blake

Jennifer Blake

Jennifer Blake is a staff writer for <i>Dynamic Business</i> magazine. Fascinated with the power of media, she's previously worked for Sky News and <i>The Jakarta Globe</i>. In her time off, she's likely cooking up a storm, haunting vintage stores on King St, Newtown or trawling design blogs for things she can't afford.

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