Following the evolving event known as the Great Resignation, an emerging class of freelancers has appeared among the large number of employees who voluntarily left their jobs beginning in the spring of 2021.
The American psychologist Anthony Klotz is credited with coining the phrase, and he describes the movement as “a call to remap priorities in the work-life equation.” Phillip Kane, CEO of the consulting firm Grace Ocean, describes the migration as a “decision to no longer accept the unacceptable.”
Klotz lists four reasons for the Great Resignation and its coincidental timing with an international catastrophe. He shared these in The Washington Post live webcast. He explained:
- The coordination producing the sudden surge of quitting includes workers who wanted to resign before the pandemic but decided to hold on for a little while longer.
- He cited the burnout, especially among the frontline workers in healthcare, food service, and retail.
- Coining another colorful phrase, he described a major shift in worker’s identity and purpose that he said was due to “pandemic epiphanies.”
- And finally, he said there’s now, for some, an aversion to returning to the office after working from home for a year or more.
Some of the numbers attached to the Great Resignation are astonishing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 4.3 million people resigned in August 2021, up 242,000 from July. That’s more than enough to shift the normal gravitational forces in the world of work.
One result of the migration has been an expanding interest in freelancing. The basic gear you need for freelancing is minimal—a laptop and access to broadband. And, ironically, many workers have just undergone a full immersion training on the equipment provided by their current, soon-to-be abandoned, companies. As the work and scheduling at home became second nature, over months and even years, the idea of freelancing or starting one’s own business or service has appeared within reach.
A recent blog post from the U.K. business-banking firm Tide “identified the very best places in the world to work as a freelancer.” In the release were 11 tables showing the best and the worst places for freelancers, where the hot spots in the world were emerging, and who has the best broadband speeds in the places where coworking spaces are most available.
With a central office in London, Tide is a business financial platform that provides digital business banking services for small and medium-sized enterprises. In other words, it’s an international group that offers financial services to those who are and those who employ freelancers.
Looking for a new job often involves relocation, and the tables from Tide offer a very comprehensive checklist of ideal locations around the world for those recently liberated by the “Big Quit.”
With the goal of “finding out which countries are the best to work in for freelancers,” the group first created a list of 30 countries and chose eight categories for comparisons. Beginning with the broadband in each country (speed and cost), they searched where the freelance market is most active, what statutory rights and protections are available, the global gender gap in the region, coworking spaces available, and finally, the happiness index of the country. The results of all these elements produced the final numbers used for ranking.
Using data from sources such as the World Bank, the Speedtest Global Index, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, the following emerged as the best countries to live and work in as a freelance professional. They combine the best quality of life with great accessibility to the internet and working spaces, and robust legal protections.
Singapore ranks first because its “excellent broadband [is] both affordable and superfast as well as having a very high number of co-working spaces available per head.” The report points out that “it’s not the cheapest place to live and there’s still room for improvement in terms of its Happiness Index score,” but the country performs well across the board.
After checking out the top 10 best places, it seems reasonable that one should also be aware of the places to avoid. Here, the Tide researchers list the 10 worst places to work as a freelancer (note the two tied for ninth place).
Of course, for a life-changing event like relocation to establish a new career in freelancing, you need more than a chart and a single set of recommendations. What the Tide research provides is a good first step with an index of criteria that could guide someone’s choice. What the landscape will look like after the leveling of the Great Resignation takes place remains unclear. That will require sets of tables based on data yet uncollected.
To see the entire set of charts in the report, you can visit the Tide blog post at Freelancer Hotspots: The best countries for a freelance life | Tide Business.