How a slowing economy affects workers: Freelance jobs an option during uncertain times

Mr Nigel Vijay works as a freelancer, an option a growing pool of job seekers appears to be taking.
Mr Nigel Vijay works as a freelancer, an option a growing pool of job seekers appears to be taking.PHOTO: COURTESY OF NIGEL VIJAY

The slackening job market has not been easy on a few of Mr Nigel Vijay's friends and fellow graduates, who have been searching fruitlessly for full-time jobs for several months.

But he has taken a different route - doing shorter- term jobs and working as a freelancer, an option a growing pool of job seekers appears to be taking.

The 28-year-old graduated with a business marketing degree from RMIT University through SIM Global Education three years ago. He works mainly as a private tutor, teaching English, mathematics and science to primary school pupils and mathematics at the secondary school level.

This year, he also started taking on handyman jobs through online services marketplace ServisHero to supplement his income. So far, he has helped people install curtains and put up picture frames, TV brackets, mirrors and even a hammock.

Altogether, he can take home about $2,000 to $2,500 in an average month, he said. But this amount fluctuates from month to month.

 
 

Mr Vijay, who is single, estimates that degree holders should be earning a starting pay of $2,500 to $3,000. "But from what I know, a lot of companies aren't offering that, so we might have to settle for less," he said.

NO SUITABLE JOBS

I don't think there are job openings available which are suitable. It could be the economy, or maybe my level of qualifications is not high enough.

MR NIGEL VIJAY, who graduated with a business marketing degree three years ago. He is on the lookout for a full-time job.

He is looking around for other full-time opportunities, but nothing has come up yet. "I don't think there are job openings available which are suitable. It could be the economy, or maybe my level of qualifications is not high enough," he said.

But he said he is not anxious about this, and hopes to find a job that he enjoys. "I'd like something interactive, something that allows me to travel. It could be in marketing, shipping, sports, anything."

He also has an idea for a small fashion business he plans to start up, which would help assure him of a stable income.

"I can't say for sure where I'll be in two or three years' time. In the meantime, I'll keep doing multiple jobs to make ends meet," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2016, with the headline 'Freelance jobs an option during uncertain times'. Print Edition | Subscribe