Why Do Organisations Use Freelance Contractors

The use of Freelance or Contracting staff has grown dramatically and almost continuously throughout the last 30 years and it has become a frequently preferred career route for the individuals involved. There are many reasons why a person may choose to be a contractor as referred to in the relevant page of this website: "Contract/Interim".  However, Client organisations tend to use IT Freelance/Contract staff for a variety of reasons:

  • Non Political - the contractor knows that he/she is there to do a task and not to become involved in or distracted by the politics of the organisation
  • Independence - the contractor comes to the task without the legacy of being involved in previous decisions and history and can approach the task with a fresh independent view
  • Reduced Employer Responsibility - the client has little employment responsibilities towards the contractor and their consequential legal employment obligations and social welfare
  • No Emotional Ties - a contractor knows that they are there to do a job and then move on so the client does not need to feel concerned at the point of contract termination
  • Peak Demand/Gap filling - Contractors are ideal to fill the "hump" of resource requirement at peak demands of eg a project plan or filling a gap like maternity leave or short term skill gaps
  • No Training - Most contractors are engaged for their specific skills and therefore do not normally require the time and cost of training
  • Speed of Deployment - a contractor can be searched for interviewed and engaged to start very quickly
  • Speed of Termination - equally a contractor can be terminated very quickly, simply by use of the notice period in the contract
  • Uncertainty - often resource plans are uncertain resulting in it being more sensible to engage short term help rather than commit to someone's career long term
  • Specific Skill - sometimes a project will require a specific skill for a limited period and the ideal approach is to engage someone with the specific skill for that short period of time
  • Knowledge Handover - when eg a new technology is implemented it can be advantageous to engage a specially skilled contractor to implement the technology and then carry out a knowledge handover to the permanent staff to carry on with the maintenance and enhancement.
  • Temp to Perm - some clients try to engage staff on a try and buy basis whereby they will take the individual on on a contract and if both they and the contractor enjoy the relationship and it is successful they may choose to offer a permanent role after a period of time
  • Unclear Career progression - some jobs have no onward career path (for instance sometimes it could be a legacy system maintenance role) and so a contractor is happier to come and carry out a role such as that where they have the specific skills
  • Ultimately cheaper - when all the costs of hiring, redundancy, management, training, sickness, holiday, National Insurance, pension etc are taken into account it is often the case that the contractor is actually cheaper than the cost of a permanent staff member