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What is Portfolio Working?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 8 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
Portfolio Working Employment Company

Portfolio working is a new phrase that’s recently become popular with people looking to address their work-life balance. So what exactly is portfolio working?

Portfolio working refers to a method of employment that is not dependant on any one client or company, where individuals are paid for a number of different skills, products or services that they offer, often from their own Home Office using the internet as a marketing tool. So a Freelance or self-employed person could be called a portfolio worker if they have a variety of clients that they offer different services to, or a person who works part time at two, three or more different companies. The term portfolio working also encompasses people who work for a company part-time but they have their own business, too.

What's the Attraction of Portfolio Working?

Following the massive impact of the global economic crisis, the idea of not being ‘chained’ to any one client or company is very appealing for people who’ve experienced the threat or reality of redundancy. It is also attractive for employers as they get a more motivated employee for the period of time that they actually need them, rather than paying for a person full-time.

Organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Enterprise Nation have highlighted how portfolio workers are likely to play a key part in the future of British business. Companies are no longer prepared to offer final salary pension schemes or expensive benefits packages to new long-term employees when they’re better able to ‘buy in’ services from contractors, freelancers and temporary staff on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.

Portfolio working fits in perfectly with the changing face of employment. With very few ‘job for life’ opportunities available, people are more comfortable with the idea of having a few different paying jobs, saving them from having all their eggs in one basket and allowing them to be more in control of their own financial and employment futures.

Is Portfolio Working Right for You?

Although portfolio working is certainly not for everyone, it is a positive choice for many people who are unable to find full-time work that fulfills them or those that do not want to work full-time in one place. It is a great choice for working parents who want to spend more time at home with their children, yet do not have enough income from any one job, client or business to sustain their lifestyle. Consequently, many portfolio workers are people who have taken time out of their ‘original career’, either for maternity leave or a career break and have started their own business from home.

You could describe portfolio working as a modern solution to the current employment situation, but also a way for individuals to claim more control over their futures. People do not want to be at the mercy of their employer's whims regarding benefits, childcare or flexible working arrangements when they are able to be their own boss. Of course, there is ‘less security’ initially when building up a client list, working with new clients and getting to grips with Being Your Own Boss; but now that there is not the same security from full-time employment and we place a greater value on maintaining a positive work-life balance, portfolio working makes perfect sense.

Improving your Work-Life Balance

Read our tops tips on improving your work-life balance in our article Find A Work-Life Balance.

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