By The Drum | Administrator

February 18, 2002 | 4 min read

Karen Wilson, Consultant, Marketingworks Recruitment

The number of people working as freelancers is expected to boom over the next few years. Trends indicate that more and more businesses are outsourcing aspects of their marketing. In the current economic climate it is more cost effective to bring in freelancers to handle projects rather than to invest in permanent staff. Companies want to bring in talent only when they need it and pay for it only when they need it. Using temporary staff keeps fixed costs lower (particularly in the area of benefits) and gives companies expertise they don't have, perhaps for a short-term task or to solve a problem.

Marketers are finding that freelancing is an increasingly attractive alternative to the traditional marketing career path, whether through interim management or flexible working.

The advantages to businesses and to freelancers are numerous.

For years marketing agencies alongside advertising and media companies have used freelance resources on the creative side of the business, traditionally hiring supplementary graphic designers, illustrators and copywriters. Agencies often need extra support; staff who can 'hit the ground running' when they win a new client account. There is now an increasing demand for more rounded account handlers with a broad range of experience as a means of supplying immediate additional resources to agencies in the marketing industry.

Freelancers are often brought in to an agency as a "virtual team"; a complete team of freelancers, including creatives, copywriters and project management. Senior marketers are also brought in to work on pitch/concept development work using their expertise from different market sectors. This gives agencies a previously unknown bank of knowledge about a client's industry. The other benefit to an agency is that when using a freelancer there is an agreed end date to a contract which alleviates staffing problems when dealing with fluctuating client accounts.

On the clientside, companies are using freelance resources in marketing departments on an increased basis. There are many benefits to businesses using freelance staff. It provides cover for an employee who may be absent for any period of time through illness, maternity leave, or holidays, to trial a candidate on a "temporary to permanent" basis in a marketing position or to work on a new project such as new product development.

So for those businesses looking for staff, a freelance resource must be a serious consideration. There is a pool of people who are willing to work on a more flexible basis, either part-time hours or short-term contracts, to fit in with their needs such as travel, children, leisure, study or other activities. Also, think about the positive PR for the business and become an employer of choice.

For those of you considering a move to freelance work there are many opportunities out there in different disciplines of marketing. This type of work gives you a chance to work on short-term contracts to suit your lifestyle and earn more than you would in a permanent position. You will also increase your knowledge and skills working in different companies and with varied products or services. You can always return to permanent work in the future, but many people find that freelancing is a way of life. It can work the other way as well. You may be working happily in a permanent position but a life change or a different direction may mean that you will consider freelancing in the future.

As a business guru once said: "Put yourself in a position where you're making choices about your life, rather than letting other people make those choices for you. That's what balance is all about."

Whether you are thinking about becoming a freelancer or employing freelance staff, why not contact Marketingworks and find out how we can help you.


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