While the 1980s were the decade of the internet, this current decade has cultivated that, giving way to the huge rise in social media. The rise of social media has caused an increase in freelance work for the younger generation. Social media is not only a way to keep in touch with people, but also to push your work. Every week there seems to be a new influencer pushing their brands, products and ideas, from fashion to fitness.
So, where did this trend come from? The tone of our generation has certainly altered when it comes to career goals and work ethic.
I spoke with Julia Belle, a journalist who uses social media outlets such as Instagram and You Tube to push her work, in particular her investigation into Fast Fashion. Belle explained how there is a stronger sentiment surrounding young people to “follow their dreams”.
However, it became clear that there’s more to this than what’s on the surface; the sense of community in the traditional sense of the workforce is slowly decreasing. Belle believes that loyalty to a particular employer is not as much of a desired value as it would have been ten or twenty years ago.
The rise of freelance work appears to bring with it huge benefits at first glance. However, when we consider the daily realities of it, this is not necessarily the case. For young people leaving institutions such as school and university where your schedule is dictated to you, it throws you in the deep end.
Belle explained to me that this is not a bad thing entirely, as it can allow the younger generation to grow a thick skin. Then, of course, there is the mental impact behind this. Freelance work has meant an increased importance on an individual’s image.
A young person choosing to embark on freelance work has to constantly ask themselves how they are different in order to make them stand out as a brand. Not to mention the vulnerability they subject themselves to if they take to social media to promote themselves. Critics are always far more brutal behind a screen than, for example, in a traditional job interview.
What does this mean for the youth heading into the workforce? Like any form of employment, it certainly has its trials. Realistically, it may be a trend to grow accustomed to. Indeed, freelancing is here to stay. It will stick around as long as people keep switching on devices and buying into it.
Is this going to end soon? According to Belle, it might, yet it would certainly take something strong to overrule this pattern. For better or for worse, the landscape of the workforce is changing for young people, and with this evolution it seems that freelance work is emerging as the leader.