When it comes to new work opportunities, freelancers and limited company contractors may historically have assumed that their next client was going to be a larger business. But new research from People Per Hour puts quite a different slant on things, showing that 67% of SME businesses are taking on self-employed workers to provide valuable additional skills such as admin services and IT development – especially web and app capabilities.
Looking at the stats
The survey was carried out recently across 1,000 SMEs, looking at how many of them chose to use an additional self-employed resource and some of the main reasons behind that decision. One of the key findings was that 55% said they liked using freelancers and contractors because it gave them the ability to fill roles for which the more ‘local’ workforce did not have the right skill set.
Beyond this, almost a quarter of respondents (23%) made the decision to use freelancers because it allows their business to scale up and cover additional workload – without increasing their overheads. Meanwhile, 13% added that being able to gain access to relevant skills without paying recruitment charges was also a huge bonus.
A vital part of the workforce
Over a third of respondents (37%) stated that their main reasons for using freelancers were access to increased capacity and flexibility – while more than a quarter (27%) said they would not be able to carry on running their companies without access to this type of workforce. On average, these businesses are using freelancers and contractors for an extra 41 hours of work per month, on top of their normal employees.
One of the most striking stats was that 62% of SMEs said they actually have more freelancers on their books than they do employees – quite an eye opener! Commenting on the findings, PeoplePerHour Founder and CEO, Xenios Thrasyvoulou said, “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. It’s time that we stopped underestimating the benefits that they bring.”