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Nearly 10% of Freelancers Worked for Free Last Year

freelancesupermarket.com newsroom

RSS 24 January 2017
In a recent poll of just over 1000 freelancers in the UK, it was discovered that nearly 10% had done some kind of free work during 2016.

I'm sure many people are wondering why freelance professionals are doing this, especially when you consider that in many industries there is more than enough work to go around? When I read these statistics I must admit that it also surprised me that so many skilled freelancers are willing to put the hours in and get nothing in return.

According to the freelancers asked, 80% of those who worked for free commented they did it for the experience. Not only that, the statistics showed that people under 25 are more than twice as likely to work for free.

Do you really have to offer your services for nothing in order to get experience though? In my opinion, no you don't, and I think it's a common misconception that in order to build up a portfolio and put things on your CV you should be willing to give your time for nothing.

So what kind of freelancers are working for free you might be wondering? 16% are photographers, with 14% copywriters and 9% graphic designers.

Interestingly, companies are not shy when it comes to asking for a freebie, with 87% of photographers admitting they have been asked to work for free, with 83% of copywriters and 85% of graphic designers saying they have experienced the same thing.

I don't think you can blame these companies though. At the end of the day, if people are willing to work for free then they should take advantage of it.

The responsibility is with the freelancers if you ask me. If they simply refused to do it then it would never happen and companies would stop asking or expecting it.

Where in the country are you most likely to be asked to work for free? 63% of freelancers in London have reported being asked, with 8% of them accepting. In Manchester they are at 68% with 7% accepting and Brighton was 68% with 8% accepting.

If you want to find a freelance professional to work for free then you best bet is to look in Liverpool, Sheffield and Birmingham, with an average of 12% of people there who worked without pay in 2016.

This leads us to the question, if you are a freelancer should you work for free? While it can be tempting, especially when you are just starting out and want to get experience, I really don't think you should do it.

The reason is simple...there are plenty of clients out there who are more than willing to pay you for your services, even when you don't have much experience.

Not only that, but when you start working for free then it begins that expectation that you will do it again and again.

Even if you think that working for a certain company might look good on your CV, in reality they are probably just out to take advantage of you.

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