New research suggests that employing skilled freelancers typically boosts business performance and also increases opportunities for job creation.
According to a survey of 1,028 UK-based SMEs conducted by Trinity Business School, when freelancers make up at least 11% of a company’s workforce, productivity levels typically rise. Specifically, the findings showed that average productivity at such firms was £4,669 higher per employee than those with less than 11% freelancers working for them.
Further analysis of the data also found that when companies used freelancers as an addition to their existing workforce rather than a direct replacement for employees there was a marked improvement in performance at that firm. This finding suggests that, contrary to the conventional view of freelancers taking jobs from others, employing freelancers can actually create more employment opportunities.
The research concludes that companies need to view freelancers as specialists with the skills required to add value to their business, not as low-value workers hired to replace core employees. In other words, to achieve productivity gains, firms need to adopt a freelance-intensive model that allows freelancers to work collaboratively with existing staff in order to unleash expertise not previously available within a business.