By Daniel Hunter

A major new survey has revealed a massive increase in UK small business' use of freelancers.

The trend towards small businesses recruiting remote freelancers online is showing no signs of slowing down. The annual Small Business Survey revealed that 50 percent of the small to medium enterprises (SMEs) surveyed have started hiring freelancers in the past year for the first time.

In addition to it becoming a more widespread hiring strategy, small businesses are also hiring freelancers more regularly. 33 percent of respondents claimed to use freelancers weekly, with a further 19 percent seeking ad hoc freelance support on a monthly basis.

According to CEO and founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou, big improvements in technology have led small businesses to wake-up to the potential of hiring freelancers instead of traditional temporary or permanent members of staff.

“The great benefit small businesses are experiencing is the immediacy and flexibility of hiring freelancers online,” he says. “Thanks to the growth in broadband penetration, we are able to connect businesses with the best talent from all over the world, it takes literally minutes to post a job and find someone ideally suited to fulfill it.”

According to the survey, the jobs small businesses most frequently outsource to freelancers are in the digital sector, with 40% of respondents using web and tech freelancers across a range of skills including SEO, web design and app development. The ‘Writing / Editing / Translation’ category was rated second most popular (21 percent) and ‘Marketing / PR’ third (16 percent).

The indications are that small businesses will continue driving the online freelancing revolution. 41 percent of respondents to the survey planned to increase their use of freelancers over the next two years.

“The message from the survey is clear: small businesses are using freelancers in record numbers, but this is just the start,” says Thrasyvoulou. “Currently freelancers represent about 10 percent of the workforce. Within ten years, we expect this figure to have risen to over 50 percent.”

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness