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Study Finds Remote Companies More Likely to Hire Freelancers

  • Study suggests a direct correlation between a company being remote and its tendency to hire freelancers
  • As more companies shift to fully remote operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, a greater share is hiring freelancers
  • Managers may be more comfortable with freelance employees as lack of face-to-face interaction becomes more commonplace

Hiring managers have grown more comfortable with bringing on freelancers during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey.

The Future Workforce study, commissioned by the freelancer platform UpWork, surveyed 1,000 hiring managers about the current state of their hiring, their sentiments about remote work, and their plans for the future. The results suggest a direct correlation between a company being remote and its tendency to hire freelancers.

Prior to the pandemic, only 12.3 percent of companies were fully remote. A total of 16.6 percent had hired freelances, while 10.7 percent indicated that they had not. In April, shortly after the start of the pandemic and a shift of many workplaces to remote arrangements, 47.7 percent of companies were fully remote; at this point, 62.2 percent indicated that they had hired freelancers. The share of fully remote companies fell to 41.8 percent in the autumn, while the share of companies saying they had hired freelancers dropped to 52.1 percent.

The study posits that companies have grown more comfortable hiring freelancers as face-to-face interactions become less commonplace. Companies were also more likely to anticipate hiring freelancers in the future if the manager was satisfied with remote work or if they planned to continue remote work arrangements long-term.

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