March 16, 2018

Pros of Hiring A Freelancer vs. A Direct Hire in A High-Tech Economy

Written by
Kathryn Kovacevich
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Are you thinking of hiring a freelancer over a full-time employee? You’re not alone. According to a recent study, there are over 57 million freelancers in the U.S., and they now make up around 36% of the workforce. If the current growth rates maintain their speed, freelancers could become the workforce majority with 50.9% by 2027, so the odds favor hiring freelance workers in the near future.

Right along with this change in the workforce comes changes in technology. We know that every position and candidate is unique, which is why we’re here to go over the pros of freelancers and full-time hires and how technology will impact freelancing and the future of work.


The major shift towards freelancing that we described above has occurred for a number of reasons. For many, it is the desire for independence and flexibility. In fact, 47% of Millennial workers are either full-time or part-time freelancers.

Another reason many start freelancing is that they are not confident their job will exist in 20 years because the industry they work in will be transformed by automation. Along with technology changing the positions available, technology also changes the way freelance work is found, providing a consistent flow of jobs and opportunities available online.

Hiring freelancers has its benefits for those looking to fill a variety of digital marketing positions because freelancers are more likely to say that their work is already being impacted by automation. These individuals constantly update their skills to remain relevant. Some of these positions include Software Developers, Internet Marketing Specialists, Web Developers, Graphic Designers, SEO/SEM Specialists, and Email Marketing Specialists.

Pros of hiring a freelancer

Affordability , Right off the bat, you are not responsible for major overhead costs like office space, equipment, and in most cases, health insurance. In addition, you have access to lower cost talent in the global market.
Flexibility , As much as the freelancer loves this pro, it can also benefit you as well. You are not locked into set schedules when it comes to assigning tasks, so things can get done more quickly.
Specific Skills , If you need a very specific task completed, for instance, SEO or SEM work, hiring freelance experts is the best way to go. The task will be accomplished, and you aren’t saddled with a one-dimensional full time employee.

Full-Time Hires

While you might be set on hiring a freelancer in digital marketing, don’t forget there are still some major benefits to opting for a direct hire. In fact, some initial studies of upcoming Generation Z show that they take a much more traditional view of work, so the trend toward freelancing may reverse itself in the near future. If you choose to go with a direct hire, there are certainly a number of benefits

Pros of making a full-time hire

Loyalty and Dedication , If you bring someone on as a direct hire, both parties are making a full-time commitment. The employee has indicated they are dedicated to your company and completing their work in close proximity, and you will provide the stability of a workplace environment and benefits like vacations, healthcare options and other office perks. This leads to a much higher level of loyalty and dedication.
Engaged Employees , Employees who are engaged at work and feel happy in their workplace will have a more positive feeling toward their employers, and have a strong willingness to go above and beyond job expectations.
Future Leaders , By making an investment in direct hires, you are also creating a pipeline of future leaders. These valued team members can not only help you accomplish critical tasks today, but with the right training and resources they just may be the source of your company’s future success.

What Are Your Needs?

While there are benefits to both freelancers and direct hires, the key takeaway from this comparison is that there is no set formula to making the choice, especially with technology constantly changing.
No matter the position, assess your needs and weigh all your options before making the decision between freelance and fulltime. Sometimes a sound strategy is to use freelancers to keep projects moving forward while you search for the perfect full-time hire. It may even work to your team’s benefit to include both full-time and freelance employees in your talent mix!

Kathryn Kovacevich is a Marketing Coordinator for 24 Seven Talent. 24 Seven is a strategic staffing and recruiting firm specializing in marketing, creative and digital talent that partners with forward-thinking companies and brands to support their evolving talent demands. From freelance, to full-time, and executive-level searches, they deliver talent that meets clients’ needs both professionally and culturally with offices in New York, London, Toronto, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Orange County, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

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