Although “Poll season” has mercifully finished now, we’re still getting good news for freelancers fed to us now and again. Today, word reaches us of a large poll conducted by our friends at OfficeCavalry.com. 1,000 SMEs were asked their views on freelancers, and how flexi-workers will fit into their businesses this year. As you’d expect, the results make for some good reading.
The poll reveals that despite the one-two punch of the financial crisis and the VAT rise, 95% of those surveyed are feeling good about their prospects in the coming year, with 20% expecting their business to expand.
The standout figure for freelancers is that 93% “considered freelancing as the real alternative to employing permanent staff” – meaning freelancers are now almost as popular a choice as taking on a regular employee. Of the businesses that took part, 52% claimed “freelancers would make a significant contribution to their workforce over the next five years”.
If these figures are taken as representative of the whole nation, that means around 4.5million SMEs are now seriously considering employing freelancers – if they don’t already.
The UK’s continued shift towards flexi-working is being seen as a reaction to the financial crisis – more people who have found themselves unemployed are striking out on their own as freelancers as contractors. This has seen a surge in the self-employed, which in turn is now resulting in widespread acceptance of freelancers as a viable alternative by businesses that previously wouldn’t have given them any consideration. The number of SMEs operating in the UK will hopefully rise this year too, after the Government announced the expansion of the New Enterprise Allowance.
Andy Turner of Office Cavalry commented on the survey -