As part of our broad-reaching Kenyan creative sector study , we have now turned to employers, and individuals, companies and organisations that call on freelancers to work on ‘gigs’ (short pieces of work) to help them reach their objectives. This study kicked off in May this year, with an in-depth look at the challenges faced by creative and digital media entrepreneurs. In doing this first part of the study we also realised the importance of hearing the other side of the story, and the experiences and challenges that the employers of such entrepreneurs and freelancers face. It is only in doing this that we can truly diagnose the issue and gather insights as to what is needed to overcome the challenges.
In partnership with Baraza Media Lab we conducted an online survey and also held individual and group interviews over August and September to find out more about the challenges of sourcing, retaining, and managing freelance gig workers in the digital media economy. Baraza Media Lab is partnering with ADMF on this project as a way to also promote job creation and healthy livelihoods and freedom of expression in the digital media and creative spaces.
We want to thank all who took part, from creative agencies to entrepreneurs and large NGOs and corporates, the findings are helping to shape our upcoming projects to provide access to gig work, resources and reliable information around the gig economy in the digital media industry. It has been invaluable to get this first-hand feedback, and find out where the gaps are, especially around reliability of freelancers, professionalism of gig workers, and reliable, on-time delivery of work. One of the major challenges that comes out very clearly is on maintaining a high quality of work over the long-term. Working with the same freelancer on a repeat basis may lead to a drop in the quality and commitment, and therefore end the employer-freelancer relationship. Another major challenge is around the professionalism and client services that the freelancers demonstrate. Many young freelancers, as we have already observed, do not know how to provide a formal quote or invoice, and lack basic customer service skills which are key in developing a name and a brand for yourself in the industry.
We’ll be sharing more on this soon as we compile the findings and share a report. You can find other reports and publications from ADMF here.