Future recruitment: It’s all about embracing the freelance revolution

Fact of the matter is the rise in freelancing is changing future of recruitment

June 19, 2024

Future recruitment is all about embracing the freelance revolution. Freelancing isn’t new, but the rapid, global, growth of freelancing is. It’s due to a combination of remote work and flexibility trends together with advances in technology. Fact of the matter is: It’s changing future recruitment.

With the rise of the freelance economy, HR has never been more important. But only if it plays a larger and more strategic role in embracing the freelance revolution.

Here’s why.

Because the freelance economy is booming

The number of self-employed workers in the UK has been increasing since 2001. And self-employed people (including entrepreneurs, contractors, and freelancers) now account for around 15% of the working population in the UK. The number of self-employed workers has increased from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

While the gig economy, i.e. people working on Uber or TaskRabbit, receive most of the publicity, it’s the other group – the highly skilled independent consultants and freelancers, who are changing the way companies get access to much needed skills. Deloitte and PwC both predict that companies in the future will employ  more of these highly skilled freelancers to support their businesses. Accenture asserts that future organizations may have only have a small minority of full-time employees, while the majority is freelance.

Because freelancers offer unique advantages

According to Mary Meeker and others, 8-9 million full time freelancers work on online talent platforms in the U.S., and this population is rapidly growing. In Jon Younger’s research for Agile Talent, business leaders explained why over 90% of organizations now depend on freelancers, and why 75% are increasing their reliance. This is because:

  • They gain access to expertise
  • They reduce startup time
  • They attract talent who are unavailable or too costly to go full time
  • They manage cost and scope
  • They teach and transfer knowledge to internal staff. Check out this article from Harvard Business Review: Bring in outside experts to mentor your team.
Because full time employees are already acting more and more like freelancers

Employee loyalty is slowly dying.

Because the blended workforce needs HR leadership, but will happen nevertheless

Future recruitment is all about embracing these trends, not trying to work against them. Here, HR can make a substantial difference. After all, HR specialists know how to manage talent and change.

Complexities arise when having to manage people on a contract basis. How to create a company culture? How to integrate flexible workers? How to align them with internal employees?

Future recruitment is first and foremost a task for HR. It has to step up and embrace a larger vision than traditional employment in a traditional company. Future recruitment is about access to talent, not about ownership of talent. Read more about this here in Agile HR: Recruitment is about access, not ownership.

This is the key to attracting the key to competitive health.

But how do you actually do it? Read How can companies adapt to the freelance future?, if you want to learn more.