How Freelancing Can Help Boost Workplace Diversity

The more diverse the workplace, the more productive & successful it will be. Hiring freelancers allows businesses to harness the talent, ingenuity & inventiveness of a diverse team.
Gemma McSherry

Gemma McSherry

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It is no secret that within the creative industries such as writing, design, translation, editing etc. success is often defined not by what you know, but who you know. All too often, talented professionals miss out on opportunities for lack of connections, rather than ability. This commonly results in a shortage of diverse employees, causing a lack of diversity in the workplace on a global scale.

This lack of diversity and inclusion has only been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19. COVID-19 has caused 81% of the global workforce to have had their workplace fully or partially closed. That’s 3.3 billion people around the world who, since the beginning of the pandemic in March, have been out of work, or at the very least had their working hours cut back. When it comes to the creative industries, this figure is even higher and the job losses have disproportionately affected those from black or minority ethnic groups, with non-whites being three times more likely to lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19.

It is important to note that study after study has proven that the more diverse a workplace, be it in terms of gender, race, age, ability, religion, or ethnicity, the more productive and successful that workplace will be. A 2018 study found that immigration leads to innovation, pointing out that the kind of work that immigrants do is often different than that of native-born workers. Furthermore, a 2015 report show that companies with greater levels of gender diversity ranked 15% higher in financial gains, whilst firms with a more ethnically diverse workforce were 35% more likely to earn more than others in their industry.

For employers keen to diversify their workplace and to provide opportunities to minority groups, hiring freelancers is a great way to harness the talent, ingenuity and inventiveness that a diverse team can bring to the table. Hiring freelancers through platforms such as Ureed.com means employers can take on an active role in employing those from often marginalised communities and groups, including people of colour (POC), people with disabilities and women, as well as working parents and the youth/elder communities.  

Since the rise of COVID-19 and the global unrest following the death of George Floyd in USA, it’s becoming more and more common for employers to actively seek to employ POC when hiring, having witnessed the impact a lack of diversity, and ultimately a lack of human connection, can have on society as a whole. Those who seek to hire freelancers are in a unique position to keep this momentum going, ensuring it was not just a ‘trend’ – by putting diversity at the heart of their hiring process.

POC: We’ve seen the statistics that prove that the more diverse a workplace, the more successful it will be; however this isn’t always taken on board or reflected in the hiring process. Freelancing allows POC to choose to work with companies that not only protect, but actively encourage their racial diversity, meaning they can collaborate on projects where their unique lived experience offers a fresh and new perspective to the work. Similarly, as a POC owned business, working with freelancers who are also POC enables a network to form where POC creatives and employers support each other to create diverse, varied workplaces around the globe.

Working parents: Transitioning back into the workplace as a new parent is not an option for everyone, and sometimes going back to working full-time simply is not viable, whether it be for financial or child-care reasons. Freelancing means that working parents can tap into a wealth of industries whilst putting their child’s needs first. In fact, many companies are keen to hire working parents and they know that working parents are often keen to work as fast and as efficiently as possible in the time they have between childcare duties, making them the perfect freelancers for both short and long term projects.

People with disabilities: Unfortunately, despite it being 2020, not all workplaces put accessibility at the core of their ethos. Meaning people with disabilities are often overlooked for opportunities for which their skills would be best matched. Of course, disabilities come in many forms and it is not only those that present with obvious disablements that can face isolation from the workplace. Those with mental health issues, chronic illness, sight/hearing difficulties and many more, can also face discrimination when it comes to creative work. Thankfully, freelancing means that people with disabilities can put their self-care needs first and ensure that they’re working to a schedule that best suits their routine, be that for accessing healthcare, medicine or simply working on days that they feel physically or mentally capable of taking on a project.

Women: Whilst there has been what appears to be a global effort to elevate women to positions historically held my men, this does not mean that the issue of gender discrimination has been solved, far from it. All too often women, especially when they have taken time off for maternity leave, are paid less and given fewer opportunities to progress than men. Freelancing means that women can choose to work with companies that align with their values and ethos, meaning women can feel safe, respected and ultimately valued in their work. This undoubtedly leads to better creative outputs, which would reflect positively on the business that hired them as well.

Youth/Elders: A frequently overlooked minority group, the young/elder community have the ability to diversify the workplace with their knowledge through their lived experience, whether that be in the form of knowledge built up over decades of working across a range of industries, or the everchanging world of social media that galvanises Generation Z. The youth/elder community can benefit from freelancing as freelancing compliments working to your own pace. Whether retired and seeking to top-up their income, or studying and hoping to cover costs, freelancing is the best way for these communities to connect with employers’ keen to tap into the breadth of experience these age brackets can offer.

In conclusion…

Platforms like Ureed.com, where employers can see and speak to creatives before hiring, offer more transparency and freedom of choice to business owners, whereby they can choose from a diverse pool of worthy candidates. For freelancers, freelance platforms like Ureed.com offer accessibility and an openness that may not be experienced in other areas of creative work. Freelancing gives creatives the opportunity to connect with industry giants from around the world, igniting a truly global, truly diverse network of creatives and employers that put productivity and innovation at the core of what they do.

If your business lacks diversity, or you want to benefit from the advantages of a diversified workforce, reach out to Ureed.com and connect with a global pool of freelance talents today.