Hiring of digital freelancers 'may be postponed'

Corporation Britain agrees that using freelance consultants is cheaper than employing permanent staff.

But in the digital industry, the verdict from the London Business School’s research in 2003 is failing to get through.

According to social media firm Chinwag, the bigger the business the more likely it is to shun freelancers when staffing up in the coming months.

The firm’s survey, published last month , also found that the businesses that have struggled the most to get digital skills in 2008; are the likeliest to think twice about using freelancers.

Some industry freelancers would be forgiven for quaking in their self-made boots because over 90% of businesses said it was tough or “impossible” to source digital skills in 2007.

More positively, 10% of the businesses said they plan to increase freelancers by 25%, while about half said their intake of such non-permanent workers won’t alter in 2008.

In some industries, like IT, a marked decline in the availability of a skill would almost certainly see organisations in need of that skill turn to freelancers.

FreelanceUK asked Chinwag why companies are less likely to increase their intake of digital freelancers when they have suffered from recruiting digital skills.

“This is certainly the traditional view and one that we've seen reflected anecdotally when talking to direct employers using Chinwag Jobs,” said Sam Michel, group chief executive.

“One theory that could explain this data, is that the cost of employing freelancers, and the difficulty in finding them may be encouraging companies to wait until the right permanent staff come along, rather than go down the freelancer route immediately.”

And he cited another factor that may cause the hiring of freelance digital staff to be postponed even further.

“The feedback on company growth,” Mr Michel said, “with nearly 86% of companies expecting that the [digital] skills shortage would affect their growth in 2008, could indicate that organisations are willing to wait, and accept the fact that they can't progress their plans [for freelance hires] as quickly as they'd like.”


26th February 2008

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