A new survey highlights a surge in demand for freelancers with six in 10 business owners stating their intention to use more freelancers in 2021. 

Research from PeoplePerHour, a freelance marketplace in the UK, has found that many businesses are choosing to utilise freelance talent in order to plug existing skill gaps within their firm.

Six in 10 business owners (60 per cent) said that they plan to use more freelancers this year. This follows the previous trend where almost half of businesses increased their usage of freelancers in 2020.

When asked why they intended to use more freelancers, over two-thirds (67 per cent) said that freelancers would help to introduce skills that the business did not already have in-house.

In addition, over four in 10 (42 per cent) highlighted the flexible talent being useful to speed up projects. A further third (35 per cent) said that using freelancers would help their business to save money.

As a response to COVID-19, almost three in 10 firms (28 per cent) stated that they had turned to freelancers in order to help move their business online during the pandemic.

The world of freelancing is set to see a large change this April as IR35 amendments finally come into place, after being postponed from April 2020.

As a result, from this April, the end-client will be expected to make the final say about whether IR35 rules apply once they receive an individual’s service. This is a change from prior rules which saw the intermediary in the supply chain have responsibility over deciding the employment status of the contractor for each contract.

A recent survey found that the majority of companies have not yet prepared for the IR35 reform.

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder of PeoplePerHour, said:

2021 really could be the year of the freelancer. Businesses are increasingly experiencing the benefits of using a more flexible workforce and people are taking the opportunity to take control of their work-life.
Our research and recent performance clearly indicates there is every reason to believe that the freelance community will continue to grow over the next few years. Freelancers offer true value, speed, and flexibility to organisations they assist, and this year this will be recognised even further.

*To obtain this information, PeoplePerHour surveyed 500 business owners and 1000 freelance employees in the UK.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.