Creatives 'more productive as freelancers'

Creative businesses have confirmed what much of their flexible workforce has long suspected – that freelancers are more productive than their full-time employee counterparts.

In fact, more than eight out of ten firms in the digital, media and marketing sectors said that productivity was the key benefit to their business of using freelance workers.

Slightly fewer businesses, but still the vast majority, identified ‘higher motivation’ as the central advantage of having freelancers on the team, says a survey by Brookson.

Launched this month at the accountant’s fair for enterprise, the probe also found that freelancers were more cost-effective than full-timers, but only about 60% of the time.

“Cost saving is not the dominant benefit [of using freelancers over employees]”, reflected Neil Lewis, a media entrepreneur who helped organise the event.

“This means freelancers won’t cut your costs, but you can expect more productive results from the same expenditure.”

The bigger challenge for businesses engaging freelancers is management and recruitment, the survey found, with less than half of the fair’s respondents seeing such activities as straightforward.

Partly this is because “there is no established recruitment market for freelancers,” Mr Lewis argued, which, in turn, helps explains why a growing number of end-users search professional profiles online.

But reflecting on their findings, the pollsters warned employers not to become preoccupied with freelancers on the internet at the expense of those on their doorstep.

“We believe that business’s over reliance on sourcing freelance talent over the internet means that they are missing out on substantial talent in their local market,” they said.

“Freelancers who work and live near your enterprise can easily be brought together for project meetings and hence, the ability to manage and direct a team is substantially improved.”

For their part, freelancers should be keen about ‘knowledge transfer’ – sharing their skills and ideas with the client – as the survey shows creative firms feel freelancers could do more in this area.




19th October 2010

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