People choose to become freelancers

We sat down with Shiraz Mahfoudhi, the country launcher for Malt.

Please tell us who you are and where you’re from.

I’m Shiraz I work as a country launcher at Malt. Malt is a french platform that connects businesses with freelancers. Being a country launcher means that I’m responsible for the international development of the company.


Tell us a little bit about the Freelancers Survey and how that came about, I understand you are doing that as part of Freelancers Week with Malt. What is the purpose of the project?

We came across this idea when we started talking with Marco from European Freelancers Week. We had this conclusion that today there is no united voice of freelancing in Europe and that it would be interesting to have a united voice as well as a gathering of freelancers in Europe.

It also turns out that there are not a lot of reports in regards to freelancing in Europe. The reports that do exist are very country focused, so we know how the French market is, the UK market and so on, but there was nothing at the European level. So the idea came from this lack of information.

Once we started thinking about the questions we wanted to ask things that would help us paint a big picture of freelancing in Europe. We launched the survey at the end of July with the main goal to get a comprehensive picture as well as understanding the pain points of freelancers. We always talk about what freelancers can do for their clients but we rarely talk about what freelancers need. This survey will help us understand this so that we can tackle those issues in the long term. For example things like health insurance, finding clients, invoicing, and access to housing and loans. Having a united freelancers voice at the European level will hopefully allow us to one day have some political power that can influence debates that happen in the area of freelancing.

You did a survey about two years ago, can you share some of the information that you discovered from that?

The survey was just in France and the survey had the same objective, to understand who the freelancers are and the pain points they were experiencing in France. Although freelancers are talked about a lot in general, we didn’t really know who they are. So OuiShare and Malt did this survey and got more than 1,000 responses. It helped us discover that men / women parity is respected, with about 50 to 50 ratio. We also found out that they tend to be 35 years old on average. Many of them have problems with finding clients and the amount of time that it takes. Many family and friends didn’t feel very supportive, which was a huge discovery for us. In fact, on a previous survey, around 90% of freelancers admitted having their family and friends worrying about them because of the perceived lack of stability and the absence of a regular income. In spite of it all, 84% of respondents would clearly recommend freelancing to their friends and family.

The most important thing we discovered through the survey though was that people choose to become freelancers: 88% of the respondents became freelancers by choice. At the time we didn’t know the percentage of people becoming freelancers out of choice. The same conclusions and discoveries were made in Spain when we did a freelancers survey there. The only difference was that more people there became freelancers because of a lack of choice (25% vs 12% in France).

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