Freelancing is the new normal – and we have the numbers to prove it. More than 53 million Americans are doing freelance work, according to a landmark survey conducted by the independent research firm Edelman Berland and commissioned by Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk. That’s 34 percent of the entire workforce.
“Freelancers today are the complete opposite of the stereotypes we carry about in our heads – they are experienced professionals with sought-after skill sets and worthy track records that allow them to dictate the terms of their career. They’re great at what they do, and they only get better as flexibility affords them to refine their skills and even acquire new ones. Freelancers are now a thriving force that is changing the way businesses hire,” states Jorge Azurin of Freelancer.com.
Startups and small businesses often lack the funds necessary to hire full-time employees, but they need top-tier talent to help build their businesses. This has led to a demand for skilled freelancers that has driven some of the most talented workers to opt for self-employment.
Likely taking a cue from their smaller counterparts, large corporations have begun to realize the benefits of using skilled freelancers for their projects. Skilled freelancers give businesses the flexibility to hire additional workers on a short-term basis, sometimes contacting the same freelancers again when they need specialized work completed.
In a recent Examiner article our co-founder, Michael Solomon stated it well, “The pleasure of working with major companies like Genentech, eBay, McGraw Hill and BMW is they all had a keen understanding of the value of on demand high level tech talent. These companies are leading the way with this fundamental understanding and the know how to manage top level freelance talent.”
Check out the full Examiner article by Waqar Hassan here, 9 Big Companies Using Outsourced Workers to Save Money. Here are a couple examples from the article of how larger businesses outsource work to freelancers.
- Shutterfly – Photo-developing site Shutterfly uses a combination of employees and contractors to build and grow its website, manage operations, and help with marketing. Interestingly, the company made the choice to shift its customer service jobs back to America a couple of years ago. Today’s Shutterfly contractors now help with development and growth, while salaried employees handle day-to-day duties.
- PayPal – PayPal not only helps businesses pay freelance workers, the company also relies on this type of worker. In combination with staffing agencies, PayPal outsources web, IT, and software jobs as well as design, sales and marketing work, according to community feedback on OnContracting.
- Nintendo – Nintendo has embraced freelancers as part of its business model for a long while. Many of its software engineers, quality assurance specialists, and business analysts are hired directly by the company as freelancers.
It’s important to understand the freelance workforce, particularly in the tech industry. If you’re interested in learning more check out, 6 Tips for Managing Contract Tech Talent.