Australia moving to a Freelance Economy

09 Nov 2017

Australian businesses keen to reduce overheads are increasingly hiring self-employed workers to undertake specific, short-term jobs rather than committing to full-time employee contracts the latest MYOB SME Snapshot has revealed. Dubbed the “Freelance of Gig Economy”, it is experiencing rapid growth, driven by innovation in digital technology and the rise of freelancer talent websites.

New findings from MYOB reveal that almost nine out of ten (89 per cent) that had used a freelancer in the last six months said they are likely to do so again.

Tim Reed, CEO at MYOB says that small businesses should be open to considering the ways freelancers can support their needs.


Share economy drives freelance opportunity

“The changing shape of Australia’s workforce and the widespread increase of shared economy websites across all industries like AirTasker and AirBnB has meant businesses have become more comfortable with a different approach to talent acquisition. Small businesses can tap into a global workforce available around the clock with a broad range of specialist skills that can help improve and develop their business no matter the length of tenure required,” Mr. Reed said.

“By taking advantage of freelancers, businesses owners can free themselves up to look for new opportunities for business growth, without sacrificing business profitability, customer service or losing peace of mind that important tasks aren’t being looked after.”

While SMEs are much more likely to source freelancers through recommendations from other small business owners (46 per cent) and friends and family (44 per cent), the influence of freelancer websites is also experiencing an uptake, with 15 per cent of small business owners stating they have found a freelancer through apps or websites.

“While small business owners will always look to their trusted circle of friends and family, as well as other business owners, we’re seeing the influence of freelance websites really kick-in and compliment this more traditional form of sourcing employees,” Mr Reed said.

“Business owners are benefitting from the flexibility these resources can provide them, enabling them to scale when needed. This trend will continue as small businesses continue to do more things online and digitally transform.”


The generational divide

The SME Snapshot found younger generations were more open to embracing the freelancer workforce. Business owners aged under 40 were much more open to this new way of working, with 74 per cent saying they would consider using a freelancer for specialised help with a task or project, in comparison to only 40 per cent of business owners over 40.

Additionally, the SME Snapshot revealed key advantages of hiring freelancers with business owners stating more flexibility for seasonal businesses (47 per cent) and access to different skillsets (41 percent) as the top two. The most highly perceived disadvantages were that SMEs don’t feel freelancers understand their business (26 per cent), and 10 per cent stated that the payment processes are too complex when hiring freelancers.

For businesses considering hiring freelancers, Mr. Reed highlighted technology can help to make the process more seamless.

“If you’re worried about hiring freelancers due to complications with payroll and during tax time, using online accounting software can simplify this process significantly and give you a more accurate view of your cash flow.

“Ultimately, freelancers can be a great addition to your current employee base and can provide high- quality, specialised services when required. Many also run their own business, relying on repeat business and referrals, which means it will be in their best interest to provide the best service possible for you and your business.”


For further comment or other information please contact:
Amy Kirkwood, Australian Public Relations Manager, MYOB M: 61 427 822 088/ E:

About MYOB
MYOB Group Ltd (ASX: MYO) is a leading provider of online business management solutions. MYOB makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB operates across four strategic segments – Small to Medium sized businesses (SMEs), Practices (accountants, advisers and bookkeepers), Enterprise (larger businesses) and Payments. It provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. MYOB is committed to ongoing innovation and delivering efficiencies and growth opportunities for its growing client base across Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit or follow @MYOB on Twitter.