Tomorrow, October 10th, is the Day of the Freelancer! To commemorate this day, UNIZO (The Belgian Union of Self-Employed Entrepreneurs) will be releasing the results of their ‘Freelancer Focus Report’, a survey focusing on the transformation of and the trends in the freelancer’s market. It will address aspects that are constantly evolving, such as the demand for this type of work, the types of assignments offered, and wages, for example. We are certainly keen on what their results will unearth!
Need for clarification
Many articles have been appearing over the last weeks on the growing freelance market, its social impact, etc. In all the articles we’ve read, the term ‘freelancer’ seemed to cover a very wide range of jobs, from a remote web developer who works from home to a senior program manager at a pharmaceutical company, to a food delivery guy.
While we are obviously very excited about the growing market (on the demand as well as the supply side) and the press attention this is getting, we think it’s difficult and dangerous to draw conclusions that are valid for the entire freelance community.
For us, ‘freelancer’ is a generic term that describes any type of self-employed person who works independently and without staff. We don’t claim to have a complete segmentation of the freelance market in our back pocket, we just thought it would be interesting to point out the different types of freelance positions that make up the so-called ‘interim and project management’ segment of this population ― roles with day rates between approximately 700 and 1.400 euro excluding VAT. This is the playing field in which Maerten & Partners has operated for the last 12 years.
Throughout our professional careers, we have heard all kinds of names and titles for the external staff that companies hire on a temporary basis at a managerial level; consultant, project manager, interim manager, advisor, coach, etc. To simplify things for our clients, the people that we staff, ourselves and for all stakeholders involved, we started using (the quite logical) definitions below since 2007:
Project managers are added to an organization for a specific project on top of the existing organization structure
- It avoids that an existing good line manager is made responsible for another important project on top of his day job.
- Vital projects get a dedicated project manager (or other dedicated resources), which is the number one critical success factor to make a project succeed.
- Often this is also an excellent way to onboard a particular skill set or experience to increase the likelihood of project success.
Interim managers, on the other hand, are assigned when a company has a gap in its organizational structure that needs to be filled as quickly as possible.
- Sometimes companies are faced with an unexpected lack of personnel and are not able to wait too long to hire a new person, so they recruit an interim manager to bridge this waiting period
- Or, the line manager is asked to work on a different project and will return to his/her job when the project is finished
- Many (smart) companies even hire an interim manager for positions that need a permanent hire. And often this turns out this way. You can read more about this in our next blog.
Maerten & Partners’ project and interim manager survey
UNIZO’s survey will provide us with hard facts and insights into the general world of freelancing, but we are curious to know how the results of the survey could be affected if the pool of freelancers surveyed was narrowed down to specific segments.
Given our personal interest and support for people who work as project and interim managers, we are currently conducting our own survey in this particular playfield. In order to gain a better understanding of the trends which take place in this market, we want to know how being an interim or project manager compares to being a regular employee, and ultimately learn more about their needs and requirements. After all, we at Maerten & Partners are eager to learn how we can help grow and sustain our league of fine project and interim managers!
We expect to publish the results of this survey by the end of October.