With the world economy embroiled in the grip of recession and now Government cuts coming into place, businesses are reassessing a number of key operational facilities to ensure survival. There has been a dramatic shift in resource management with a major impact on the recruitment of permanent staff. For businesses that are expanding, the vast majority are reluctant to employ more staff and are instead resorting to shorter-term hiring and outsourcing to freelancers. This suggests a significant change to the structure of the UK labour market as we know it; one that is more flexible, agile and responsive to business change and opportunity.
The shift change in working practices is not a temporary reaction to the recession, it has now become the norm and more and more businesses are looking to bring in freelance workers as part of their operational business strategy. A recent survey showed that more than 60% of companies interviewed stated they are now saving up to 20% of staff costs through the use of freelance workers, with the average spend on staff being 30% of their annual turnover. These figures fit remarkably well with some small businesses who report excess staff capacity of 20%-30%.
In a recent letter to a leading Freelancing organisation, the Prime Minister, David Cameron wrote; “I can’t tell you how much admiration I have for people who leave the comfort of a regular wage to strike out on their own. It takes a lot of courage and without that courage this country would be a poorer place. The 1.4 million freelancers in our country make a massive contribution to our economy. More and more people are choosing freelancing, recognising that it strikes the right balance between work and life in the 21st century, and as we go for economic growth this Government is getting right behind them.” In October last year David Cameron talked of substantial funding for new centres aimed at promoting development in technology and launching successful British hi-tech firms, following in December with a pledge to help roll out fibre optic broadband to businesses and homes in rural areas. So the workforce is there and growing, the economies of freelance working makes perfect sense for both businesses and freelancers, and the Government is investing heavily in the technology to make it all happen – freelancing remotely on-line looks like it is here to stay.
UK businesses are turning to freelancers, particularly in Digital and New Media where the boom in social media and digital technology has fuelled desire among businesses to employ highly skilled freelancers to fill their identified skill gaps without the normal overheads and high costs associated with larger organisations.
For FSB members and the organisation as a whole, the opportunities presented are two-fold. Firstly businesses can at last find a way to take up the slack in their spare worker capacity, by outsourcing the skills of their workers for non-core activities and entering the freelance market as freelance providers, where revenues earned can be fed back into the business. This action can save job losses and unnecessary redundancy payments as well as provide much needed services for fellow members of the FSB providing solutions to skill gaps in other organisations. Secondly, businesses with a skills shortfall can seek to fill this gap by engaging high quality freelancers from an organisation that specialises in brokering the two parties together.
In essence, FSB members can easily become both the hunter and the hunted, by providing transferable skills and hiring freelance operators for their short term business needs. So how do businesses evaluate the option in front of them, to decide if hiring out or hiring in freelancers is an option they should consider? Maybe they should go to OfficeCavalry.com, who can accommodate the needs of both parties, and answer business owners’ concerns.
OfficeCavalry.com is a workplace specifically designed for freelancers to profile themselves and to engage with businesses to deliver short to medium term deadline assignments. Business owners can ’view and select’ candidates or post projects onto the site with pre-defined scopes and budgets to individuals, maintaining the highest quality of selection. Most importantly, there is an Escrow payment service, ensuring that funds are secure and managed during the project lifecycle, along with a rating mechanism for the remote worker and the business supplying the project, enabling both the business and worker communities to review previous performances. Finally, there is a loyalty scheme to reward individuals for delivering quality. The service is free to join for both businesses and freelance operators, and businesses can request or stipulate that local workers perform remotely or in-house.
For FSB members it has never been a better time to engage with OfficeCavalry.com as they are providing a number of financial incentives and support features including refunding Project Owners’ transaction management fees for a limited period. It may just be the time for FSB members to stick a business toe in the freelance water.
For more information go to www.officecavalry.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org