Why SMEs use online freelancers – revealed

Plugging the regional skills gap is far from the only reason that many small to mid-sized enterprises say they use four freelancers for every one employee.

In fact, while filling roles that local talent leaves vacant is the main ‘push’ factor to use freelancers, the second biggest reason is a ‘pull’ factor -- they offer such SMEs flexibility.

Such “increased capacity” is why more than one in three (37%) of the enterprises said they use freelancers, trumped only by those who need to them due to local skills scarcity (55%).

Around a quarter cited another pull factor, because freelancers, the SMEs said, allow their business to cover any extra workload which crops up “without having to increase overheads.”

Similarly, one in 10 put their use of freelancers down to such independent workers not coming with any recruitment fees; “ a major influence” in taking them on, the SMEs said.

“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,” said PeoplePerHour, which produced the findings.

The online marketplace added that based on the 1,000 SMEs it surveyed, administration is the most likely skill to be outsourced to freelancers, followed by web development and then app development.

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