The study, which was conducted with the participation of 1,074 employers from five European countries, found that the figure for freelancers being employed for core tasks surpassed that of those brought in for more peripheral tasks (21%).
Meanwhile, it was found that a combined 34.1% of businesses from the UK, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands gave their executive board responsibility to hire freelancers, while HR departments were found to influence these decisions the least (9.7%).
In fact, only 45.9% of participants claimed to inform their HR departments when employing freelancers.
“As organisations are increasingly evolving towards more flexibility in the workforce, HR departments will need to have a constant and accurate view on the skills, unique talents and the knowledge of all workers, both long and short-term, within their organisations.”, said SD Worx ‘s Chief HR Officer, Hilde Haems.
>See also: Rise of the IT freelancer
“Tools for workforce planning can help with this, for the benefit of the employee and the business alike.”
In terms of the sectors involved in the study, IT came up trumps as the industry most likely to employ freelancers (36%), with IT businesses in the UK claiming to hire the most freelancers out of the five participating countries (41%).
While the production (33%), sales (28%) and marketing (27%) also proved likely to take on self-employed workers, the HR sector produced the lowest figure in this section of the survey (15%).
Furthermore, Professor Ans De Vos from Antwerp Management said that there is a correlation between the use of freelancers within businesses and the businesses’ frequency of staff turnovers.
“The high turnover rate might urge organisations to quickly respond to the need to people when a person leaves the organisation and that working with freelancers allows to fill in this need more easily than when starting a hiring process,” Professor De Vos said.
“However, it might also be the other way around, i.e., when organisations are working more with freelancers this might signal to internal employees a lack of career prospects for them, making them more inclined to search for other career opportunities outside the organisation.”
“It is important for organisations to understand if and how the use of freelancers might affect the commitment and engagement of their payroll employees.”