Careers, Cities

Whilst the dream of a shorter, more productive working week has not yet happened for Australians, the shape of our working week is changing due to movements like portfolio careers and changing workscapes.

With work spilling out of traditional offices, our cities need to adapt to continue to host the creative collisions required for businesses and communities to succeed. Without gearing the spaces in between home and work to support diversified uses, the spark which keeps our cities as the centres for economic growth, creative explosions and innovation may be lost.

Portfolio careers and the rise of freelancing in Australia

Supported by changing workscapes, ubiquitous virtual connections, and incubated by the global financial crisis, the portfolio career is providing a way for workers to redefine their approach to work, and the way they occupy our cities.

A portfolio career aims to provide job security by diversifying income streams, allowing greater flexibility, and developing of a wider range of skills. A portfolio career may be developed in response to a lack of full time work, or in the aspiration of having a greater work–life balance, including reduced work hours. It may involve part-time permanent employment, freelance work in a similar or opposite field, and commitment to a personal endeavour such as a food blog or volunteering at a local food co-op.

Indicators of the adoption of portfolio careers include the 32% of Australians (Edelman, 2015) who are now undertaking freelance work as their sole source of income, ‘moonlighting’ as freelancers after hours, combining part-time employment and freelance work, or engaging in short-term contracted work.

The above is an excerpt from a new e-book published by The Fifth Estate called ‘Surround Sound for Sustainable Precincts Sydney’. The e-book is a collection of thought-provoking articles from perspectives with an interest in creating a more connected, sustainable and productive Sydney. To read Suzanna’s article in full (page 52) and see what others say on the topic, view and download the e-book for free here.


AB4R9757Suzanna Remmerswaal is a sustainability consultant with AECOM.

Originally published Dec 2, 2015

Author: Suzanna Remmerswaal