It is unquestionable that we live in the fast-paced digital age, and considering the speed with which tech-related businesses need to grow to meet increasing demands, many are beginning to outsource their work. More and more businesses are looking for freelancers to do the work in-house employees either don’t have the ability or capacity for. According to the World Bank, nearly half of all workers globally are freelancers.

The field of IT in particular is growing and expanding quickly. More people are gaining access to the digital network on a daily basis, and businesses are digitizing at a rate that leaves even experts dizzy. So, businesses may struggle to keep up with the workload, and need to hire freelancers. However, there are numerous pros and cons to outsourcing IT work to freelancers that a company might want to consider before hiring them.

This article explores some of the main advantages and disadvantages of hiring IT freelancers. Let’s begin with the good stuff.

Pros of Hiring IT Freelancers

One of the biggest companies in the world, Google, has about 20,000 more freelancers and contractors than fixed employees. This is because there are many advantages of hiring IT freelancers. Here are a few of the main ones:

Greater Cost-Effectiveness

Regular employees come with additional costs. A company has to include allowances for taxes, social security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workmen’s compensation. It may surprise you to learn that American employers pay around $759 billion annually on work that doesn’t get done, like meetings, cooler talk, and other distractions.

On the other hand, freelancers have a set rate that is paid purely based on output. You don’t have to pay benefits, taxes, or other things that can reduce company profit margins. Based on one analysis, you can save around $17,000 per year by outsourcing work to a freelancer rather than hiring a permanent employee for the job.

Higher Productivity

Because freelancers are not exposed to in-house distractions, and because they are paid based on output, they tend to produce more output at better rates. Over half of IT managers have said that they hire freelancers to meet project needs. IT freelancers provide the skill sets and productivity rates needed to complete projects on time and according to specifications.

More Work Time

Every hour that a freelancer is paid for is an hour in which they are actually working and producing output for a company. This is in contrast to the 9-5 in which workers chat idly, surf the internet, get coffee, or have lunch while they are on the clock. In addition, most fixed employees work a maximum of 40 hours a week, whereas 57% of freelancers work more than that.

Specialized Software and Skills

One way that freelancers to distinguish themselves in the IT market is by choosing a niche and becoming specialists in that niche. Subsequently, they come to possess not only highly specialized skills for technical projects, but also the particular software needed to carry out particular tasks. This is a pro for any business as it means you don’t have to buy the software and you can access skill sets that might be unavailable in-house, ensuring greater flexibility.

Competitive Advantages

90% of IT managers have said that they would have had to cancel, delay, or extend projects and their deadlines if not for specialist freelancers who were detrimental to the success of their work. Most managers also agree that companies that don’t evolve hiring strategies to incorporate freelancing will be at a disadvantage. Hence, it is evident that hiring IT freelancers allows companies to keep up with the competition.

Cons of Hiring IT Freelancers

While there are many pros to hiring IT freelancers, there are, unfortunately, some cons as well. Here are some of the main disadvantages of hiring IT freelancers. It’s worth taking them into account when outsourcing IT work.

Lower Long-Term Commitment

When hiring a freelancer, you may have to contend with a lack of long-term commitment. Because they are not on your permanent payroll, freelancers may have limited loyalty and connection. Freelancers enjoy independence in their work and can prioritize other projects they prefer. You would have to give them some incentive to ensure their commitment to you.

Challenging Communication

A lot of freelancers, especially in the tech world, work remotely, and many companies are happy to allow them this independence of location. Only 1 in 10 IT managers say that location matters to a new team member’s success. However, the remote nature of online freelancing can lead to communication gaps, which can make it difficult to meet requirements and collaborate effectively.

Risky Security

In today’s digital age, data is a critical element of any business’s operations, but especially of IT teams that work in cyberspace. Freelance workers gain access to a great deal of data in the form of company systems, repositories, and documents, but they have no loyalty obligating them to maintain security. Without security guidelines and systems, freelancers can pose a risk to company security.

Inconsistent Quality Control

Many freelancers are highly educated and specialized professionals, and the IT managers hiring them know what they are looking for in a freelancer to meet their requirements. Unfortunately, different freelancers come with varying levels of professionalism and expertise. Because it’s difficult to hold freelancers accountable, a company may receive subpar work from unprofessional freelancers.

Conflicting Availability Issues

It can be challenging to work with freelancers as potential conflicts can arise in their schedules and availability. This is especially true of remote freelancers in different locations, because it may be difficult to coordinate work across time zones. If you have an urgent project with a tight deadline, availability and timely communication is crucial.

Mitigating the Cons

If you really want to hire a freelancer for your IT work, it is possible to mitigate the risks and reap the benefits. Clear communication channels and workflow processes can help you streamline your work. It’s also a good idea to hire from freelance platforms with a record of proven success to ensure you’re hiring skilled professionals who can get the job done. It is also possible to establish screening processes and continuous check-ins for quality assurance.

Final Thoughts

Hiring IT freelancers has many benefits for any team seeking to get ahead in the tech world. Freelancers are more cost-effective and productive, just to name a couple of pros.

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