The number of freelancers in the gig economy has been on the rise since 2017 and shows no signs of slowing down. According to research published by Statista, projections estimate that over 86 million people will be freelancing in the United States by 2027, making up just over 50 percent of the total U.S. Workforce. Full-time employees are not going away – however, organizations need to examine their talent acquisition strategies and discover areas where choosing a freelancer over a full-timer might be the best option.
When to Hire Freelance
In general, there are three reasons to choose a freelancer over a full-timer: When you need talent fast, when you need specialized skills for a project, and when you need to save on labor costs.
If your organization needs immediate results but doesn’t have the bandwidth to deliver, a qualified freelancer is usually the best solution. Hiring a full-time employee requires going through the entire job posting and onboarding process, whereas hiring a contingent worker or freelancer for a specific project only requires briefing them on deliverables and setting a deadline. In some cases, freelancers can be onboarded and ready to work in as little as 48 hours.
Likewise, if your team lacks specialized skills to complete a project, outsourcing a portion of the work to a freelancer with the right expertise can save time and money. For example, McKinsey reported that the pandemic increased the need for tech freelancers to help accelerate the digitization of key channels related to supply chain, customers, and employees.
Additionally, choosing a freelancer can help your organization save 20 to 30 percent on an annual basis when compared to hiring a full-time employee. Even though freelancers generally have higher hourly rates than full-time employees, organizations save money because they don’t have to factor in the cost of benefits like health insurance, retirement, Medicare, and social security that are required for full-time employees.
When to Hire Full Time
Even though the number of freelancers in the U.S. is on the rise, full-timers are here to stay. For employers, a few key benefits of hiring full-time employees are retaining critical knowledge within the company, increasing engagement among team members, and fostering long-term efficiency.
Hiring freelancers to fill talent gaps in your workforce is great for short-term results, however, for long-term success, upskilling full-time employees and hiring new full-time employees will help your organization retain the skills and knowledge your team needs to be successful in the future.
It’s easier to foster employee engagement among full-time employees as well. Freelancers don’t have loyalty to one company, but full-time employees have a greater connection to your brand, increasing ROI and brand quality. Also, since full-time employees are more invested in the organization’s success compared to freelancers, having more full-time employees will create more consistent, long-term success.
Forecasting Your Team’s Need for Freelancers and Full-Timers Moving Forward
Hiring freelance talent is not always the right call, however, with almost 60 million active freelancers, contingent workers, and independent contractors in the U.S., and more joining every day, it makes sense for organizations to plan on sourcing freelance talent to fill the skills gaps on their teams.
The most important factor when deciding to hire freelance versus full-time is the duration of the need. Hiring freelancers is best when your team needs specialized talent or fast, short-term results. Hiring full-time is better for long-term results, fostering employee engagement, and retaining knowledge within the organization. Moving forward, it’s important for businesses to focus on striking the proper balance between the two.
Want to find out more about how you can get the most out of freelance and full-time talent at your organization? The ActOne group has the tools, resources, and network of workforce solutions to make your hiring goals a reality. Learn more at https://www.actonegroup.com/