Small-to-medium enterprises are increasingly employing freelancers to meet their short-term staffing needs and the trend is set to continue into the foreseeable future, according to a study.
A survey of 1,000 UK SMEs undertaken by freelancer sourcing web site OfficeCavalry.com revealed that a quarter plan to boost headcount over the year ahead, with 38% of them intending to use freelancers as a means of meeting skills shortfalls.
Some 55% of respondents even indicated that they viewed freelancers as key to their company’s stability and growth because such workers provided them with the flexibility required to meet unpredictable organisational demands.
OfficeCavalry’s founder Andy Turner said: “SMEs are changing the way they operate. Together with improved access to finance and initiatives to do business with the public sector, we are seeing SMEs opt in favour of a more flexible way to do business – one that is cost-effective and scalable.”
A huge 93% of respondents said that they now considered freelancers to be a real alternative to employing permanent staff, with 52% believing that they would have a key role to play in their business over the next five years.
According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 4.8 million UK SMEs expect to experience business growth during 2011. Such organisations provide 60% of all private sector jobs.