In the “old days,” a firm might turn down a project because it didn’t have the necessary staff to handle it properly. Today, firms can maintain a lean staff in lean times and hire freelance consultants when business picks up. In the process they can hire people with the particular skills needed for particular jobs.
Architecture is not the only profession turning more and more to freelance employment. One study finds the number of temporary hires almost doubled in a recent four-year period – over 10 percent of them skilled technicians or professionals.
In fact, a growing number of young architects see freelancing as a fast-track means to getting ahead.
Instead of working on just one type of project or one aspect of design, freelancers acquire varied experience. The goal is to land permanent positions at a higher level more quickly than by remaining on one job for a given period of time.
Assuming that architectural firms will become accustomed to the freelance concept, this type of employment will grow as the demand for new projects returns to pre-recession levels.