Key insights from our Expertlead Community Survey: What makes tech freelancers tick

Our community of tech freelancers is the core of our business. To continue supporting them in their professional lives, we constantly strive to learn more about their needs and aspirations. Hence, we asked our community members to complete a survey to find out what they like about freelancing, what they require from their clients, and how they prefer to work.

The results are now in – and we’d like to share some of our key findings.

Once a freelancer, (probably) always a freelancer

It's no secret: being an IT freelancer has its advantages. In addition to the good salaries of the IT sector, freelancers can arrange their working hours and benefit from working on different projects with different companies, which increases their own experience value. Almost all freelancers that participated in the survey have already been employed on a permanent basis - and the majority for longer than five years. 

Because of the advantages of being a tech freelancer, it is not surprising that every second freelancer has never thought about switching to a permanent position after becoming self-employed. Once self-employed, the majority can imagine remaining a freelancer indefinitely. 

Long-term collaboration instead of a frequent change 

Although flexibility seems to be a high priority, respondents also want a certain degree of continuity. Almost half of the respondents state that they prefer long-term gig work to short-term employment. Besides a steady income, projects that extend to over one year enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the project. The responses depicted an image that freelancers place a high value on their work contributing to achieving a higher goal. But it is not only the freelancers who like long-term gig work; there also seems to be a need for longer projects on the part of the companies: The majority of all respondents say they have been working in their current employment relationship for longer than ten months. As you can see from the following graphic, the signs point to long-term collaboration. 

Are you still programming or already learning?

Just because there are plenty of job openings in the tech sector does not mean IT professionals are resting on their laurels. To stay ahead of technological change, almost all freelancers are constantly learning. Most of them do not take advantage of further training offers from companies, but take care of this themselves and use both free as well as paid courses. They mainly focus on progressing their IT expertise, but also try to enhance their soft skills. Freelancers are in a way forced to continuously refresh their knowledge in order to compete in the free market. This in turn gives them the advantage to always be up to date and bring cutting-edge expertise into existing tech teams.

Not just interested in skill progression and pay

Well-paid employment and challenging tasks are not enough for IT freelancers when they tackle new projects for companies. The third most important requirement for IT talents is open communication with their employer. 

The need to belong

Integration into a community of like-minded people is important for freelancers; almost two-thirds of the respondents state that networking and exchanges with other techies are important to them. In the course of their self-employment and the changing teams on their assignments, freelancers have the desire for an existing community. 

In this context, they particularly emphasise the exchange with other experts at eye level or the mutual support in the search for new job opportunities.

At Expertlead, we offer our tech community access to exciting IT projects and the opportunity to exchange ideas with a vibrant community of peers. Are you a tech freelancer and not yet a member of Expertlead’s community? Join our community!

Jan 2022 - 3 min read

Katharina Höll

Katharina Höll

Senior Communications Manager

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