UK businesses must ditch anti-freelance opinion or face talent crisis post Brexit

New figures released today reveal the true impact of Brexit on the UK’s workforce with nearly two thirds of businesses plan to hire part-time staff over full-time once we leave the EU and only 20% will tap into the freelance economy.

With Brexit on the brink of reality, the talent debate is intensifying and many UK businesses are increasingly concerned that the already small pool of talent will shrink further.

Globally, the transformation consulting industry is worth £23 billion, with tech and digital consultants accounting for 8 per cent of the total, which translates into £720 million in the UK alone – making this a significantly sized market to tap in to. And yet, even in light of this, companies still have a bias towards recruiting from the traditional labour force, without considering the alternatives available.

The research conducted suggests that, not only will Brexit affect workforce requirements, but it will potentially complicate labour availability as well. Most worryingly, it shows there is a genuine lack of information and understanding about the true cost of freelancers in the UK and how they can help, not hinder the bottom line.

CEO and co-founder, Worksome, Morten Petersen, who commissioned the research, said “Company culture will be instrumental in how well a business can weather the Brexit storm.  To build and maintain a core loyal workforce amidst uncertain times, and sustain the long health of a business, the logical approach for employers is to hire a blend of full-time employees and freelancers”.

Exposing the full picture emerging from UK businesses, further statistics show 87% of UK businesses shun flexible working practice and actively choose NOT to encourage it. Additionally, nearly half of businesses admit that freelancers are MORE productive than permanent full-time employees.

Petersen added: “This research has really highlighted some of the challenges facing UK businesses who are clearly feeling apprehensive amidst this change and uncertainty of post Brexit. Businesses need to understand and invest in the freelance economy as this will support the ability to expand and contract as market conditions will shift. Initial upfront costs have historically deterred many businesses from even considering the freelance talent pool. But as technology evolves and the recruitment challenge is streamlined, supply and demand will ease the ability to expand and contract teams, delivering more cost effective and efficient solutions that can help cushion the Brexit blow”.

Amidst the economic uncertainty of Brexit, freelancers are positioned to play a critical role in the UK economy. Freelancers make it possible for businesses to hire the most skilled and suitable talent, with far less financial risk attached. As the UK’s freelance economy continues to boom and the country now playing home to an estimated 5 million self-employed workers, using freelancers is looking like a very attractive option for business owners looking to fill the skills gap left by missing EU workers.