Research from leading UK freelance marketplace, PeoplePerHour, has revealed that 67% of businesses are hiring freelancers, often from across Europe. This adds on average, 41 hours of freelance work to their company payrolls.

PeoplePerHour surveyed 1000 UK SMEs and found that 23% of businesses say that freelancers help them to cover extra workloads without the need for hiring full-time employees and therefore increasing overheads.

Another reason why businesses are hiring freelancers more than ever is that they struggle to find local workers with the same skill set to add to their business, 55% gave this as their main reason for hiring freelance talent.

37% said that they had hired freelancers for the flexibility. 27% said that they would be unable to continue running their business without this source of online outsourcing.

13% said that because hiring freelancers is easier than ever, they were more inclined to do so rather than incurring recruitment fees from hiring regular employees.

62% of SME managers say that they now work more with freelancers than they do with employees. The average is three employees to twelve freelancers.

Broader range of skills

Having access to so many different freelancers has meant that companies are adding a more diverse range of skills to their business operations that would otherwise be limited to people just working in the company. The main skills that businesses look to freelancers for are admin work and web or app development.

21% of business managers say that their workforce is made up of workers from at least three continents, though it’s uncertain what effect Britain’s exit from the European Union will have on this.

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, PPH founder and CEO said: “Ten years ago the majority of businesses cited local staff as their main source of employees, now the majority cite freelancers as their main source of hiring. This turnaround has been rapid and the change has taken some by surprise – perhaps this accounts for the recent fracas around the Chancellor’s threatened manifesto breach.

“Self-employed and freelance workers make an enormous contribution, not just to SMEs and the wider business world, but to the whole of the UK economy. In allowing businesses to access niche skills without the expense and trouble of recruiting a permanent employee, it could be argued that the freelancer is the real grist to the mill of British business. It’s time that we stopped underestimating the benefits that they bring.”


Have you ever hired a freelancer to help you with your business? Would you recommend doing so to other SMEs? Let us know what you think in the comments.


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