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The Age of the Freelancer

May 17, 2010 Finance

As many businesses cautiously begin to hire new employees, a different type of worker is emerging as the top choice for many recruiters.  More and more companies are seeking out independent contractors to fill positions that were once deemed to be standard full-time positions.   As the recession finally begins to halt, a transformation in how we work and what we get for it gains momentum in America.

Welcome to the Age of the Freelancer.  For years, large corporations have typically hired independent contractors to contribute to critical projects and recently we have seen small to mid-size business owners joining this trend.  IT professionals have been in the “freelance” mode for a while, but now we are seeing every type of employment, including sales reps to virtual assistants and now accounting and finance professionals, is among those effected.

The benefits for hiring or becoming an independent contractor are proving to outweigh the risks associated with freelance work.  There is a certain level of security being sacrificed for this type of work, however, many companies, including Fahrenheit Finance are focusing on hiring long-term project consulting teams as opposed to offering transient employment opportunity.  Gary Mathiason, senior managing shareholder at Littler Mendelson explains, “As the economy gets moving faster, there will be more opportunities, and many of those will be in contingent jobs.”  He believes a rise in the use of contingent workers will occur primarily in highly-skilled positions “as companies aim to do more project-based work with small groups of professionals they can bring in as needed.”

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So why are companies abandoning the tried and true equation of loyalty + stability = better workforce?  Why are so many organizations replacing that equation with project and consulting based hires?  In this economy it just makes sense…

• Hiring several independent contractors can result in a plethora of talent and skill available versus hiring one full-time employee.• Saving money by not offering benefits including unemployment insurance, sick/vacation days, or retirement plans.• Reducing the size of permanent, full-time, in-house workforce.• Allowing a company to hire employees on a trial basis before deciding whether or not to hire them as full-time employees.

“Bringing in the exact talent you need to accomplish your goal and then allowing our firm to deploy them again makes great sense.  You get 100% utilization of that consultant’s ability for what you need, then they move on to the next project and your organization doesn’t carry the burden forward.” says Rich Reinecke, Partner at Fahrenheit Finance

Although this business model seems to be extremely beneficial concerning a company’s expenses, the idea of freelancing can be appealing to individuals as well.  Many are drawn to independent contract work because it gives people the sense of great entrepreneurial independence.  An independent contractor is, in essence, his/her own boss, oftentimes able to set their own hours and determine their own workload.  The opportunity to balance professional life with personal life can be fulfilled for many when taking positions that can be accomplished from a home office.  There are those, too, that enjoy the freedom to change direction in their careers and when one project ends, the chance to gain new experience with new companies begins.

Different management styles are required for this growing segment of the workforce.  If you find your business struggling to hire employees with specific fine-tuned skills or simply cannot afford any more full-time people, independent contracting or independent project consulting teams may be your best route.  For individuals willing to sacrifice the typical perks that come with full-time employment, this new wave may help you achieve a paycheck sooner.

Fahrenheit Finance offers opportunity for project and consulting based work.  If you are interested in discussing potential employment opportunities drop us a line at tlowery@fahrenheitfinance.com.

 

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