It wasn’t that long ago that your career use to be tied to one company until retirement, but today’s workforce has vastly changed. It’s not uncommon to switch companies or jobs every few years, an occurrence that doesn’t phase HR recruiters when they see a resume in their inbox.
Labor patterns are changing even more with the prominence of freelancers flooding the job market with their killer skills.
A freelancer is defined as an independent contractor retained for a short period of time to complete a specific task. Freelancers are often hired at scale and their expertise spans many industries — from creatives, to tech, administrative support and clerical, or specialized consultants.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, freelancers currently make up 10% of the workforce, with a prediction that between 2012 and 2022, self-employment will increase another 3.6%.
But, do freelancers really have much influence on the labor market overall? Our answer? Absolutely!
Below are four ways freelancers have changed recruiting and staffing:
1. Efficiency in Costs
Every business structure is different depending on the industry, but if your business is scalable, freelancers can easily work on large projects where more personnel is required. This solves the issue of having to decline work because of limited resources.
If the demand slows down, then contractors can be scaled down to match the level of business coming in.
It’s important to keep a roster of solid freelancers that can be utilized on-demand. Maintaining positive relationships with freelancers allows you to call on them in a time of need.
The ultimate benefit of freelancers is more than short term savings. Think about it — consider the long term benefits.
Joe Hadzima wrote in the Boston Business Journal that full time hires “are typically in the 1.25 to 1.4 times base salary range”, which means an employee that is paid $50,000, actually costs $62,500 to $70,000 to hire. Ouch, that sure isn’t economical.
Avoiding high overhead expenditures, yet being able to service your customers fully is one way freelancers are changing labor demands.
2. Freelancers Help the Little Guys
Small businesses can take advantage of this trend of contractors to provide additional services and compete with bigger companies for the same projects.
Because freelancers fill specific roles, their skills can either add onto an existing part of your business or create a new asset that’s marketable to your customers.
Growth also comes internally, so consider empowering your managers to oversee key projects. Knowing and meeting the needs of your customers is vital for small businesses.
By keeping costs variable until your profits increase, freelancers are a third option in staffing (besides regular employees and temporary workers).
3. You’ll Have Happy Workers
In 2014, Freelance Union and Elance-o-Desk conducted a survey on the number of Americans engaging in contract-based or temporary work. Approximately a third of the U.S. workforce — about 53 million people — have done freelance work. But not by force.
Freelancers have positive attitudes and feel more job satisfaction, because contractual work gives them independence and flexibility in their lifestyles. Studies show that a happy worker is more productive and creative.
Millennials who used to have difficulty securing full time employment now flood to freelance jobs. At the same time, retirees interested in keeping their skill set sharp, will take on short term projects.
The labor market now has a mix of fresh, enthusiastic talent and seasoned workers wanting to share their wisdom, giving companies a diverse labor pool to choose from!
4. It’s Easy to Find Them
With the demand for freelancers on the rise, an influx of freelance websites now exist to source them.
You can find general contractors with platforms like Upwork, and Elance. Or for higher-end positions there’s HourlyNerd. Many of these services take the guesswork out of reference checking or skills testing — so a freelancer is hireable quickly.
Here at Boon, our app is designed for ease and convenience. With a push of a button, reliable pre-screened clerical staff are dispatched within minutes.
Forbes calls this need for “tools and processes in order to handle the entire freelancer life-cycle” a true “disruption” in staffing. Technology advances to fill a gap where nothing existed before to aggregate lists of qualified freelancers or serve companies seeking contractors.
The truth is unavoidable: the freelance economy is here to stay. Whether you want to become a freelancer or use one — it’s easier than ever to do both!
If you’ve ever hired a freelancer, what was your experience?