It’s being described as the ‘quiet revolution.’ Ever since the global economic meltdown, the importance of freelancers and contractors to the UK economy has been keenly felt.
Before the economy took a turn for the worse in 2007, companies could easily afford to retain a large fixed-term workforce. And if they wanted to expand, they would simply employ more staff. But all that changed when the purse strings had to be tightened in a tougher economic environment.
Businesses could no longer afford the fixed-costs of a large rigid workforce. Mass redundancies were made and it quickly became clear that for many firms, the ability to hire skilled professionals on an ad-hoc basis became crucial.
Demand for flexi-workers rose considerably and that’s where freelancers and contractors came in.
Writing an insightful piece in The Sunday Times, Rachel Bridge described how: “Instead of growing by taking on employees, as they would have done in the past, SME’s are expanding through outsourcing.”
She then goes on to detail how almost every element of of business can be outsourced, such as marketing, manufacturing, web design and, of course, accounting. As the founder of home business network Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones says: “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.”
In a sense, we’re all employing each other. The reality is that this state-of-affairs is likely to remain – if the economy takes an upturn will businesses’ decide to become less efficient and go back to their old ways? Unlikely.
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