The trend towards small businesses recruiting remote freelancers online is showing no signs of slowing down. The annual PeoplePerHour.com Small Business Survey of small businesses has revealed that 50 per cent of the SMEs surveyed have started hiring freelancers in the past year for the first time.
In addition to it becoming a more widespread hiring strategy, small businesses are also hiring freelancers more regularly. 33 per cent of respondents claimed to use freelancers weekly, with a further 19 percent seeking ad hoc freelance support on a monthly basis.
As a result of this growing trend for SMEs to use freelancers, PeoplePerHour.com claim to have doubled its user base in 2011, and now has more than 250,000 registered users all over the world.
According to PeoplePerHour.com CEO and founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou, big improvements in technology have led small businesses to wake-up to the potential of hiring freelancers instead of traditional temporary or permanent members of staff.
“The great benefit small businesses are experiencing is the immediacy and flexibility of hiring freelancers online,” he says. “Thanks to the growth in broadband penetration, we are able to connect businesses with the best talent from all over the world, it takes literally minutes to post a job and find someone ideally suited to fulfill it.”
According to the survey, the jobs small businesses most frequently outsource to freelancers are in the digital sector, with 40 per cent of respondents using web and tech freelancers across a range of skills including SEO, web design and app development. The ‘Writing / Editing / Translation’ category was rated second most popular with ‘Marketing / PR’ third.
The indications are that small businesses will continue driving the online freelancing revolution. 41 percent of respondents to the survey planned to increase their use of freelancers over the next two years.
“The message from the survey is clear: small businesses are using freelancers in record numbers, but this is just the start,” says Thrasyvoulou. “Currently freelancers represent about 10 percent of the workforce. Within ten years, we expect this figure to have risen to over 50 percent.”